Opinion: The Diamond Bar High School valedictorianship system does not accurately represent the accomplishments of its student body.

The valedictorian: the epitome of success, hard work and commitment at Diamond Bar High School. Previously sought as a prestigious accolade, the title has become increasingly obsolete for how it fails to evaluate students holistically, favoring the idea of getting ‘As’ above all else.

This achievement has long been utilized in schools to recognize students with the highest grade-point average from each graduating class. In the majority of American schools, the award symbolizes the ideal role model for all students at the school to follow. However, at DBHS, where 30 or more students receive 4.0 unweighted GPAs per year, the title simply cannot differentiate between the difficulty of workload for students.

In other words, a student who has never taken an AP class can be recognized at the same academic level as one who has taken all of the hardest classes at DBHS, as long as they both receive all A’s. At the same time, a student who challenges themself throughout their whole high school career and earns one is recognized as less than a peer that takes easier courses each year and maintains a straight A record. The entire system is unreasonable and inequitable to those who dedicate much of their high school careers challenging themselves with difficult classes and dedicating substantial amounts of time to studying.

Furthermore, 4.0 GPA valedictorians are the only ones that can apply for the speaker, making the process arbitrary and illogical. Considering that the speech is meant to represent the best parts of a graduating class and give inspiration for the years after high school, it seems unreasonable that the metric for the speaker role is simply to get A’s. Failing to acknowledge any other criteria may lead to the selection of a speaker that is less representative and relatable to the audience.

Luckily, there are multiple potential solutions the school should consider in redefining the concept of this award. For one, they can evaluate students similar to college applications—granting the award to students who excel holistically in their extracurriculars, writing and academics. By doing so, valedictorians can be selected from a wide variety of students and who represent the graduating class well through their active participation on campus.

In a less complex, but still representative selection process, DBHS could evaluate the award in the same way that the majority of other schools do: by considering the weighted GPA of students. Honor and AP classes should be counted as higher than 4.0 points to award students for their harder workload, while regular classes should be counted as a regular 4.0. This would ensure that the award goes to the most academically accomplished student in a graduating class rather than those who earned all A’s in easy classes.

No matter the case, the present system at DBHS fails to properly recognize students and choose a qualified speaker for graduation. The valedictorian title should be awarded only to the most accomplished students at DBHS, and the school should respect that by reforming this outdated system.