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Board votes down attempt to save valedictorian system

January 13, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County Board of Education member made an unsuccessful attempt Monday night to save the school system's valedictorian system.

The valedictorian is the student who usually has the highest ranking in that person's graduating high school class.

Last June, school board members voted to eliminate the valedictorian format in favor of an honors system, which allows for more students to be honored for academic achievement.

As is done at most colleges and universities, certain students will be recognized as summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude, depending on their grade-point average.

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School board member Pat Murphy, who voted against eliminating the valedictorian program last year, continued to express concern about the move Monday night.

Murphy said eliminating a system that has been in place for years amounts to "dumbing down" the educational process.

"I think some of our brightest students are not being challenged enough," Murphy said.

Murphy's motion to reconsider the valedictorian program died when board members Rick Pill, Todd Beckwith, Bill Norris and President William Queen voted no.

Queen said he prefers using the honors system because it is better to honor more students than one in a graduating class. Besides, all colleges and universities will be informed who is the top student in each class, Queen said.

Under the plan, Berkeley County high school students will be ranked by an honors system starting with the class of 2006.

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