Portales High School could do away with valedictorian, salutatorian at graduation

High School Graduation

PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the new age, where everyone gets an award.

The principal of a New Mexico high school thinks there’s too much competition to be the valedictorian; he wants to do away with the idea and honor all the top students.

It’s only Mark Gormley’s first year as principal at Portales High School but he is already proposing some big changes.

“Basically what we’re talking about is changing a part of our graduation ceremony and not recognizing a single student as valedictorian or salutatorian,” said Gormley.

Gormley’s proposal would recognize all students with a 4.0 grade point averages at graduation ceremonies as Ram honor graduates without naming a top student in the class.

Gormley says there is enough pressure on high school students to be the best and that this would alleviate some of the pressure and competition.

“We’d kind of like to just kind of take that off of the table to where they can just focus on being just good high quality students here at Portales High School,” said Gormley.

If approved by the school board next month, the changes would go into effect in 2020.

“We want to start with our freshman group coming in, so we don’t want to take it away from students who are already here at the high school,” said Gormley.

Some people in town do not agree with the proposal.

“I’m completely for having valedictorians because these kids should be recognized for their schooling,” said Ted Blair, parent.

Some say students work hard for those honors and they shouldn’t be stripped of the chance to be the best.

“It’s an honor to be valedictorian or salutatorian and it’s a prestigious thing that people work for and if you take that away then what’s the end result that you’re working for,” said Kynzi Creighton who just graduated from Portales High School.

Many schools require the valedictorian and salutatorian to give a speech during the graduation ceremony.

Gormley says they already did away with that a few years back.

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