'Everyone gets a trophy': Cherry Creek School District slammed for cancelling valedictorian award
A school district in Colorado plans to discontinue valedictorian awards at its high school from the batch of 2026. According to FOX 31 Denver KDVR, the Cherry Creek School District in western Arapahoe County, Colorado, will not give special acknowledgment to students who have scored the highest grade-point average in their class at graduations.
The school district has already notified parents about the ceremonial change through their recent newsletter dated March 9, 2022. The school newsletter revealed that the faculty have found the tradition to be no longer appropriate for their students. The letter read, “The practices of class rank and valedictorian status are outdated and inconsistent with what we know and believe of our students. We believe all students can learn at high levels, and learning is not a competition.”
So in place of having the highest-ranking student deliver a graduation address, the Cherry Creek School District plans to acknowledge academic achievements “through various other ways,” such as an honor roll, GPA honor cords at graduation, as well as department and school-specific award ceremonies.
According to the letter, the Cherry Creek School District deliberated its decision with local schools, colleges, and universities in Colorado to make sure that its decision to eliminate valedictorian distinction does not negatively impact students during their admission processes.
The school district also shared the statement of the vice-chancellor of enrolment at the University of Denver, Todd Rinehart. The district said that the university is “not concerned with schools eliminating class rank or valedictorian recognition” since the valedictorian distinction isn’t factored in its admission process and that “many college and university admission committees stopped considering class rank years ago, as very few high schools still report a class ranking.”
The school district hasn’t shared news about its decision on its social media accounts, but Cherry Creek students and parents have taken the time to share their thoughts on the matter on Twitter and Facebook. Many appear to be against the idea of removing the valedictorian distinction. “This has escalated poorly,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another user wrote, “Now everyone gets a trophy and we are eliminating some of the highest honors because it’s not fair to those that don’t earn it?”
A popular op-ed from The Denver Post cited, “Cherry Creek schools redefine ‘valedictorian’ as ‘mediocrity.’”
Members of academia are the only few who appear to see the change in a positive light even though the Cherry Creek School District isn’t the first to eliminate the valedictorian distinction.