Being Valedictorian or Salutatorian of your high school has its many perks such as the honor of giving a speech in front of your graduating class and your friends and family, a different color sash, stole or chord, and making your parents the proudest people.
But some students don’t work hard to reach this goal, some, as a matter of fact, cheat their way up this academic hierarchy. In fact, there have been countless stories of students crossing an ethical line. In the article, “Driven to cheat: Students say pressure to achieve is intense”, Colin Jindra, a junior at Tesoro High School, said, ” It’s probably pressure. When you end up with no more options and you have to get a grade, if there’s only one thing left, you do it.”
The pressure of class rank simply adds on to this pressure; the pressure to succeed. As humans, we would like to think that numbers don’t define us. But sometimes as much as we wouldn’t like it to be, numbers get into our head and slowly infiltrate our thoughts about ourselves. Numbers shouldn’t define people. But when someone is in a classroom and people start to shout our class rank numbers, it’s difficult to remember that just because one person is ranked four, while someone else is ranked forty, it doesn’t –and shouldn’t– define their intelligence. This process of ranking students has turned many friends against each other. To many, it places pressure on those who aren’t ranked first or second.
While the purpose of class rank should still be embedded in students, ranking every single student is a flaw. Institutions should give ranks to the Valedictorian and Salutatorian and not the rest. It’s not that everyone else doesn’t matter, it would just lessen the pressure that students place on their shoulders. It would honor the two highest GPAs in the grade while also reducing the stress of grades on students.
Class rank ultimately has its flaws but also instills the message that we should honor the students who put in the hard work to get work done– and for that, we should applaud.
- Terrell, Jessica. “Driven to Cheat: Students Say Pressure to Achieve Is Intense.” Orange County Register, Orange County Register, 27 Jan. 2014, http://www.ocregister.com/2014/01/27/driven-to-cheat-students-say-pressure-to-achieve-is-intense/.