No Reed City Val and Sal. Why?

REED CITY — Reed City High School will not be announcing the names of its valedictorian and salutatorian this year.

There aren’t any.

There are plenty of great students, but the way of doing things has changed.

The “... usual Valedictorian and Salutatorian thing” changed this year to a more expansive honor called Senior Scholars at Reed City High School. Many verbalized their concern that “no one knew about it.”

Around town, questions were asked. The answers have been provided.

Actually, while the switch from what is quite commonly referred to as the “Val and Sal” is new this year, it wasn’t without a carefully consider change that has taken the last couple of years.

Still, some folks contend, “This just happened and nobody knew anything about it.”

Apparently that just is not so.

The “Val and Sal” had existed locally for nearly 50 years. At least two years ago after much discussion by faculty, students, administration, and many others, RCHS principal Tom Antioho said the change in policy was included in the student handbook.

Page 5 of the handbook has a heading in bold letters and underlined:

Senior Scholars — effective for class 2011.

At the end of the 1st semester seniors will have their GPA and ACT scores calculated into a senior scholar list. Seniors will be honored at graduation using the following criteria:

n Senior Scholar — ACT+GPA (1700 points and higher) these students will receive gold medallions, gold cord, be recognized in the local newspaper, stand and be recognized individually during the graduation ceremony and be noted is a special part of the printed program.

n Summa Cum Laude — (3.9 GPA and above) these students will receive a blue cord, stand and be recognized individually during graduation, and be noted in a special part of the printed program.

n Magna Cum Laude — (3.6 to 3.89) these students will receive a red cord, stand and be recognized individually during the ceremony, and be noted in a special part of the printed program.

n Cum Laude — (3.0 to 3.59) these students will receive a white cord, stand and be recognized individually during the ceremony and be noted in a special part of the printed program.

Antioho said there are several reasons for the change.

It allows a new way to celebrate more students rather than celebrating only the top two. In the case of the 2011 Senior Scholars, there are eight to celebrate.

By using the grade point average in combination with the ACT score with a special formula, one who takes tough, challenging classes may have lower grades, but with that formula, by doing well on the ACT test their junior year, they can boost their overall score.

That ACT test can be taken again and again if needed.

Antioho explained that the Senior Scholars program was addressed when the trimesters were introduced in Reed City, “... and these students were sophomores. We looked at it as a three-year cycle and this is that year, the first year without the valedictorian and salutatorian.”

He noted that the process is not carved in stone.

It works in other areas of the state, he said, but it will have to be evaluated because it is still new here.

He said colleges want to know what a student ranks in the class, and that class ranking is solely determined by his or her grade point average.

“This has no negative effect for our students, and lets more of them be celebrated. Colleges want to know how you ranked in your class, if you’re ranked five out of 114 students, or what, but not whether or not you were the valedictorian or salutatorian,” he explained.