Cherry Creek Schools Nixes Valedictorian Awards, Faces Sharp Backlash

Hispanic student giving speech at graduation

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A Colorado school district near Denver joined the trend of removing valedictorian awards from high school graduations, according to KMGH. The Cherry Creek Public Schools recently announced that they're ditching the designation in a March 9 letter sent to parents.

"The practices of class rank and Valedictorian status are outdated and inconsistent with what we know and believe," the letter reads, adding that this will start with the graduating class of 2026. "We believe all students can learn at high levels, and learning is not a competition."

School officials claim they were multiple reasons for axing the valedictorian rank, "citing inconsistencies among valedictorians across its schools, unnecessary pressure and waning significance in the college admissions process," according to reporters. They also told KDVR that they consulted many schools and universities before making their decision.

The University of Denver, for example, says class rank doesn't really factor into college admissions.

The move has left parents furious, however.

"Taking this away is not going to fix the problem," Kristen Stone, the parent of a district student, told reporters. "It’s not going to fix the stress that we are seeing for other students - plus, it’s taking away from those who want to work towards it."

Another parent, named Tiffany, says her daughter will be affected by the change when it goes into effect.

"I don't understand why they're taking that away from these hard working kids," the mother explains. "We've always instilled in our child that you do your best and when you do your best, you get rewarded."

Cherry Creek Public Schools still plans on rewarding academic achievement through special cords, honor roll, and other forms of recognition.

They're not the only school district in Colorado to have these changes. Back in 2007, the Boulder Valley School District got rid of the valedictorian designation. Colorado Springs School District 11 also stopped using the title with the graduating class of 2018.

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