Announcement reveals new Latin honors system

Betsy Faris, News Editor

At graduation each year, the senior with the highest weighted GPA is awarded for their accomplishments with the title of valedictorian, an achievement some students work for all throughout high school. Imagine: instead of one person being recognized for their outstanding achievements, everyone who received a 4.0 was recognized.
This new Latin honor system will do just that. There will be three levels of success, which are cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Cum laude means “with honor” and will be award to students with 3.5 to 3.75 GPA’s. Magna cum laude translates to “with great honor”, which is for students with anything between a 3.75 to 3.9 GPA. Finally, summa cum laude means “with the highest honor”, and will be awarded to students with 3.9 to 4.0 GPA’s. This change won’t be applicable to the 2016 seniors.
“Around April, I get to let the valedictorian know of their honors, which most people think would be fun, but the difference between the valedictorian and the salutatorian are hundredths of a decimal point,” principal Josh Almy said. “I am basically telling the salutatorian that they are not the valedictorian, when their accomplishments are nothing short of amazing. It’s nice to reward people for all of their hard work, but there has to be a better way to recognize these students.”
There are many students at Liberty with 4.0’s, but only one can be the valedictorian, which means the weighted GPA’s only distinguish a valedictorian by a small decimal point. Almy wants to create a threshold for academic achievement, but not limit the amount of students that can achieve this award.
“Instead of thinking ‘I am going to work hard because I want to be the valedictorian’ where only one person could get that award, I want students to set the goal to graduate summa cum laude, and nobody can knock them out of that rank. Regardless of getting an A- in AP Calc, they can still graduate with honors regardless of how other students perform,” Almy said.
As far as the class speaker goes, the administration, parents, and students will all have a say in who speaks at graduation. There may be an audition, or it may be selected by those who are in the summa cum laude rank, but the decision is still being made.
“We need to reward students with high grades without the burden of class rank, and I believe that the top honor should be rigorous to attain, but we shouldn’t limit that,” Almy said.