Valedictorian Distinction to Return to VBCPS Next Year


Sophia Dodge

Eliza Hendrick, the likely 2023 Valedictorian candidate, will likely miss out on the opportunity.

Jenna Hentrich

After only one year of the Latin Honor System, the Virginia Beach School Board voted to reinstate class rank and the honors of Valedictorian and Salutatorian. With a 10-1 vote on March 28, the School Board Members chose to bring back these titles.

The plan that was voted into effect in March will continue with the Latin Honors System but also award the two highest Grade Point Averages with the titles of Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Additionally, two schools, Princess Anne and Ocean Lakes will be awarded two sets of Valedictorian and Salutatorian–one for the Academy along with one for the non-Academy students. 

“This will allow the division to provide the designations to those students that work hard to earn that title, and also continue to support those students that strive to achieve a Cum Laude and higher designation through the Latin Honors System,” said Jennifer Franklin, one of Virginia Beach’s School Board Members.

Many constituents were in support of this return, but others were unhappy when they learned that this policy will not go into effect until the graduation of the Class of 2024. According to Mrs. Franklin, “the board vote to bring back the designations of Valedictorian/Salutatorian happened too late in this school year to be able to accommodate the return this year.”

One student who was particularly unhappy about this was Eliza Hendrick. She believes that if the titles returned this year, she would be Valedictorian. 

“I do really empathize with the other people who wouldn’t be represented well by their class rank, but it will always make me a little upset that I don’t get the recognition I’ve worked for,” says Hendrick. 

Many people understand why the titles of Valedictorian and Salutatorian were not brought back for this current school year because it is too late, so the idea is that students would be unhappy that they did not have the opportunity to compete for these titles. Others, including Hendrick, believe that those who were at the top of the class were already doing the work to be at the top, and those who were not concerned about the title were doing the work that they feel is necessary.

“I also understand that some people don’t want to bring it back too suddenly because of the competition associated with it, but I feel like it’s too late in the year for that to really happen. The people who wanted to be at the top of the class did what they needed to do, and the people who didn’t care as much did what they needed to do,” says Hendrick.

While the policy states that these titles are not returning this year, some are hopeful that there is still time for things to change to reward those who worked to be at the top. This policy change for Virginia Beach City Public Schools is surprising to many but will bring back some well-deserved titles for hard-working students.