No more valedictorian? Tradition could soon end at Elyria High School

ELYRIA, Ohio-- As part of a growing trend in education, the tradition of singling out one student as the valedictorian of a graduating class could soon end at Elyria High School.

Under a tiered honor system now being proposed by the principal, a larger group of students with top grades would be recognized.

"We have so many kids that achieve at a very high level, take advanced classes, honors classes and now college credit plus classes, so when you recognize the top one or two students, we just felt there were a lot of great kids that were achieving high success that weren't getting recognized," said Tim Brown, Elyria High School principal.

Under the so-called Latin honors program that is used by universities, students would be honored for graduating in one of three top levels of achievement.

"I think the vast majority would be happy. I guess you would say those couple that are striving for the top might be disappointed that they wouldn't be recognized as that number one or number two, but with the three system where we did some of the quick numbers, you would have 60 families that were ecstatic because they would have a child in one of those three tiers," Brown said.

Detractors compare the tiered honor system to giving out participation trophies to every child on a sports team and believe it diminishes the individual achievement of top students.

But, supporters believe the Latin honors system would encourage more students to perform at a higher level, and, according to Elyria High Hall of Famer Tim Johnson, it would create a more competitive atmosphere in the classroom.

"I think that's a really good idea -- give kids more of an initiative, more kids initiative if they knew they had that opportunity," Johnson said.

If the plan is approved by the school board, it would begin with the graduating class in 2019.