Hinsdale Central doing away with valedictorians
Updated: November 28, 2011 8:11AM
Starting with the graduating class of 2012, Hinsdale Central no longer will have valedictorians.
Typically, a valedictorian is the student having the highest ranking, based on grades, in a graduating class.
Hinsdale Central Principal Michael McGrory said Oct. 19 that instead of having a valedictorian, the school will recognize the top 2 percent of graduating classes. In 2012, for example, that would mean 13 or 14 students would be recognized in an expected graduating class of about 675.
McGrory said Hinsdale Central students and parents will be notified of the change.
The Hinsdale High School District 86 Board voted in December 2007 to phase out class ranking. The graduating classes of 2011 for both Central and South had class ranking as freshmen during the 2007-08 school year, but ranking has not been used since that time, though Central has still identified the valedictorian each year. That tradition will now end, leaving Peter Kallis from the Class of 2011 as the school’s final valedictorian.
“Changing to recognizing the top 2 percent just kind of came out of the idea of not having class ranking anymore,” said McGrory, who is in his second year at Hinsdale Central. “If you don’t have class ranking, it’s a little nonsensical to recognize your top one or two students.”
However, students who need their class ranking for scholarship or college applications are able to have that information made available.
“Recognizing more students now with a top 2 percent won’t in any way impact kids for scholarship or college admission,” McGrory said.
At Hinsdale South, Michael Holland, director of guidance, said that school previously recognized its top 10 graduating seniors, in alphabetical order, at commencement. Hinsdale South switched to recognizing its top 2 percent after the board did away with class ranking.
“It wasn’t a directive from the board, but rather a suggestion that we recognize the top 2 percent,” Holland said. “As far back as anyone here can remember, we had a top 10, but not a valedictorian. And the transition to recognizing the top 2 percent has been seamless for us. With graduating classes of about 500, it ends up not really being different than what we were doing before.”
Hinsdale South Principal Brian Waterman said he believes recognizing top students for academic achievement is a good practice. Students in the top 2 percent of Hinsdale South’s graduating class are presented with an academic medal that recognizes them as being a part of that group.
“I believe that recognizing student achievement is one of the most important things that we do, and whether it is for the top 2 percent or for some other metric, it is vital to the success of a school,” Waterman said.