June 6th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

Oregon high school has 29 valedictorians

(CNN) - There's not one, not two, but 29 valedictorians graduating from Redmond High School in Oregon this year. The school implemented a new system that adds weight to some classes, and enables students to receive up to a 5.0 GPA. But these students had three years under the old system, and all qualified to be valedictorian, CNN affiliate KTVZ reported.

It's expected to be a one-time phenom in Redmond, school officials said, but it's not the only place to have far more than one valedictorian. Just last year, a high school in Ocala, Florida, graduated 25 valedictorians - there, the top students all earned a 5.0 because of the college-level classes they'd taken.

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soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Jake

    CNN should post these 29 'valedictorians' GPAs next year. Bet it will be clear which of these students are really truly exceptional students and which are benefiting from high school grade inflation that prioritizes self-esteem over knowledge Many schools boost seniors GPAs as a way to get them into good colleges, especially those who didn't do as well on their SATs. Colleges then have to deal with unprepared students who think they are suppose to ace everything. These kids are going to be in for a big surprise when they get to college and profs give them the grades they deserve without considering their feelings or self-esteem.

    June 18, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  2. Spent

    lower standards will create this, for sure.

    June 18, 2013 at 3:12 am |
  3. DJH

    Beyond ridiculous. There were 635 students in my HS graduating class, and you know how many valedictorians we had?
    One. And she wasn't the only one who got a perfect score on the SAT.

    June 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  4. Anita

    it is interesting to read all these comments from people who don't really know anything about these particular students or this particular school. Seems like a lot of assuming that the classes were not particularly demanding or that the school simply handed out A grades whether the students' performance really deserved that A or not. I don't live in that city or know a great deal about the high school...but I do know one of these 29...and she is a truly exceptional young woman. A very good student, yes, and one who takes learning very seriously, but also actively involved in a variety of good causes and already a significant contributor in her own community and finding ways to make a positive difference in her larger world. If the other 28 are anything like her, any school would be proud to have them held up as representative of the qualities you HOPE your students take into the world. In her case, at least, this was not a matter of school administration wanting to give everyone a pat on the back whether they really deserved it or not. If you really do have 29 seniors who have worked hard, achieved much, and stand out as examples of what is best among us, then why not honor them in this way. Why do people want to automatically assume they can't really be that good?

    June 10, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • Anita

      oh–and since you may want to assume I only think she is exceptional because I am related to her...I am not related to the one of 29 I know. I was on staff at two separate events she attended–one a week-long event in Oregon and the other a 10-day event that took place in Missouri and Iowa and involved high school students from the US and Canada.

      June 10, 2013 at 2:09 am |
  5. hender1123

    The current theory is that self esteem is more important than excelling in school. When that student applies for a job they can tell their potential employer that even though they can't possibly do the job they feel good about the idea of getting the job.

    June 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • CoCoqueen

      That is not the theory. You have to the education, self esteem and motivation to succeed.

      June 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  6. slrman

    I went to three different High Schools. I technically qualified as valedictorian at the last one. I was asked to not accept it as there were other people that had attended the same school system for 12 years and had very good records, too. I did give it a miss and have never been sorry.

    The school administration asked me to do the right thing. I am thankful that my parents had taught me to try to do what seemed right whenever I could. It cost me noth8ing and it made me a few friends fr life.

    June 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  7. toomanyvaledictoriansonthedancefloor

    In my high school, choosing a valedictorian wasn't just based on GPA. Potential candidates had to also make a speech in front of the principal that fulfilled the spirit of graduation and represented the student body. I would never want someone chosen who had a stellar GPA but couldn't perform public speaking. That would just be an embarrassment to everyone. I also would never want to sit through 29 valedictorian speeches. None of us have the attention span for it.

    June 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  8. Anne

    High school is a joke... and this is just one example. I was a Valedictorian with a weighted GPA too. The only difference was that the single highest GPA got the honor 15 years ago. I can only hope this school actually prepared all these students for college.

    June 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  9. boungiorno

    nonsense NOT EVERYONE HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A VALEDICTORIAN! FACT IF THEY EARNED IT THEN THEY DESERVE THEIR RECOGNITION!

    June 9, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  10. Michael A Ruzicho

    If they all qualified then they all deserve it. America is about difference.

    June 9, 2013 at 4:39 am |
  11. xelamiih

    My high school had 108 valedictorians.. 29 is literally nothing.

    June 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • D.S.

      Actually 29 is literally 29....

      June 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • your mom

      something tells me you weren't one of them

      June 9, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  12. beelzebubjr

    PCism gets carried away.

    June 8, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  13. Shelia

    Just be happy for them..It could very well be schools need to be more challenging ...Today's young people have much more information/technology at their fingertips so it makes sense that they are doing better then the students before them. Let's face it American education system is a dinosaur..If you ask me students and schools should be able to learn like the college system the ability to move ahead in things they know so they can learn new things. I don't see the point of doing the same math for 10 years..Its wasted time specially when they could be using all that boring energy on something they are weak in..

    June 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  14. Nonya Bidness

    This ranks right up there with everyone getting a trophy for participation. Weighted GPA's? Seriously? What happened to EARNING your grade? Give me a break.

    June 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Trolsworth Trolington

      'Merica.

      June 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • subtlecloud

      Classes got harder. Did you take Calculus in high school? Or you know, ever?

      June 8, 2013 at 12:31 am |
    • Common Sense

      Clearly you have not taken an A.P. or Honors course in your life. Weighted grades go to students taking higher level classes, Honors and College levels. These students do "earn" their grades by completing courses that challenge them more than what they would be required in "regular" education courses. There are no handouts here, they deserve every point they get.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
      • CoCoqueen

        Yes!! They do! I'm going to college for a 2nd degree and most of the students in my classes, who are fresh out of high school are very intelligent. People talk negative about our young people when they do bad and now when they are doing good they want to speak negatively about them, also!

        I believe generation X adults are the adults with all the problems, after all our generation, most of our problems were ignored, plus we were young when there was the big crack-cocaine epidemic, thus unfortunately, these adults being so dysfunctional had children and the chrilden weren't provided with the parenting that they needed.

        June 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • tom

      students in schools with weighted gpas get better chances in getting into colleges than schools without weighted gpa. schools that i looked at even said, that schools with weighted gpa get looked at first because its harder to maintain. my school has it. i graduated last year. for example instead of 100-90 as an A and 90 to 80 as a B its 100-93 as an A and 92-85 as a B and a 84- a 70 something is a C. I mean we had it not cause of AP classes but just in general its harder to maintain and earn,the 4.0 or higher. if youre students can handle graduating on a weighted system, its pretty much a guarantee that they will succeed in college with great grades. but the difficulty of the work doesnt change on a weighted system from a non weighted system.

      June 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  15. Jim

    29 valedictorians. Talk about grade inflation. Do they just hand out 5.0s for every kid in an AP class? At my kids' school, the AP classes are tough! Most don't even get 4.0s. The school had to re-do the valedictorian selection process because those who only took 1 or 2 raised grade point classes along with a study hall and many easier non-college prep classes had the highest GPA. If 29 kids are getting 5.0s in AP classes, someone is grading on one major curve.

    June 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • CoCoqueen

      No, different kids have different strengths and abilities. Some AP students don't require that much study. They can easily understand the subject manner. You don't know these kids, so don't make assumptions.

      June 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  16. Bob Nolan

    My sons school last year had 20 Valedictorians in a class of 110 students... This just further strengthened my belief that the educational system is not challenging our students to be the best they can be, but simple catering to the lowest common denomenator to make sure no child gets left behind. In the process they are making sure that no smart kids get ahead...

    June 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Yep Yourright

      I think you're on to something here, Bob. First 29 valedictorians... next year everyone is a valedictorian....fast forward a couple of years and we're redistributing wealth, sharing property.... definitely a commie plot. Definitely.

      June 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  17. mlblogscbgoldsmith

    If we're all "Heroes" why not "Valedictorians" too? The only problem is that in the real world "Precious Loser" is not defined one a sliding scale.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  18. Scott

    On of the local high schools in my area also had 29 Valedictorians. Shows that the school isn't fully challenging the students in my opinion – but it was interesting that the average ACT score for those 29 kids was 32, so they're clearly smart.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • junior

      A 32 isn't even that great. In fact, it's much lower than what I would expect of a valedictorian. I got a 2320 on the SAT, and I'm not even in the top 10% of my school.

      June 9, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  19. ScottM

    Did people have to suffer through 29 speeches?

    June 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  20. Left coast

    At the public high school from which my kids graduated, any student who receives all A's, whether in an AP class or a regular class, is a valedictorian. Test scores are not part of the equation, nor is weighted GPA; it is entirely based on having A's on the transcript. There are usually 3-10 each year. The entire county does it this way.

    Some of the students are truly brilliant, but others are gaming the system. Whatever. College is often a rude awakening for the gamers.

    June 7, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • What Now

      I teach in college and I can tell you from experience that many are unprepared for college courses. They are not ready for the amount of independence or the reprecussions of consequences. It is sad. There are, however, some who do well and are a pleasure to have in class.

      June 9, 2013 at 7:35 am |
  21. aCriticalEye

    Whoever the superintendant of that school distirct is, they are now the laughing stocks of the education system nationally. If I see a resume from Redmond, the first thought through my head will be, "Oh are you a valedictorian also..can you read"?

    June 7, 2013 at 6:27 am |
  22. ct

    I went to high school in Oregon. Not at Redmond but my ex did. It is NOT an academic powerhouse. I went to South Eugene where there are so many brilliant students we didn't even consider valedictorian. But I repeat, Redmond is not known for having rigorous studies and the students are nothing special...at least not 29 special. Academic standards are lower compared to other high schools. For example, at my school I ranked in the 80th percentile and yet I had a 3.9 (4.0 scale).

    June 7, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • NonnaAnn

      Thank you for your post. It reveals much.

      June 9, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Allie

      ct, doesn't the fact that a 3.9 is only the 80th percentile speak more to grade inflation at your school than lower standards at the other?

      June 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  23. USA

    Sponge Bob Smartpants :-)

    June 7, 2013 at 12:49 am |
  24. John Tate

    It sounds like they're a little too free handing out A's left and right. Rather like there being no losers in children's soccer.

    June 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  25. Johnny Five

    Unless they all got the exact same scores on everything and were literally perfectly tied for first, it sounds like someone got robbed and had to share what they earned with 28 other people. Might sound pretty negative, but consider that 99.999% of the time, there is only one valedictorian. That doesn't mean that the runners-up didn't accomplish amazing things. They should be proud of being in the top few percent amongst their peers. And perhaps at this school the true valedictorian was happy to share the glory with the others. It's a feel-good kind of story, but that doesn't change the fundamental idea of valedictorian. First place is first place.

    June 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • Johnny Five

      Really though, I understand that this is a happy story, but I think that there's something to be said for striving to be the best and actually achieving that goal, and when we tell someone they have to share that victory with others, it kind of takes something away doesn't it?

      June 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  26. drtdwood

    Schools here in Western New York use a percentage system, and while AP and Honors courses donreceive weighting, by having percentages calculated to the third decimal place keeps the scools from having multiple valedictorians...and also stops the graft of 4.0 students begging teachers to not be given less than an A since they already had multiple years of 4.0, as some of my sad classmates did in HS (the same ones who never come to the reunions, either)!

    June 6, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  27. Mordac

    Must be Lake Woebegone, where all of their students are above average.

    June 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  28. Ellen

    Hard to believe that 29 people all performed at the exact same level to earn their A grades in all of their courses over 4 years – did no one get a B in PE? Did they all earn perfect top scores on their AP exams for the courses where they received the A grades? I've been with some smart people in a lot of places, and there are still usually ways to break out the best of the best from the rest. Just taking an AP course shouldn't get you an A grade, although passing the AP exam with the top test score should justify an A grade. So if 29 students truly scored perfect on the AP exams for their subjecs, wow, what teachers these kids must have had. However, since the valedictorian is the one student with the highest GPA, and they had 3 years under the 4.0 system and one year with a possible 5.0, their grades should have still allowed for some distincition, as in someone may have had a 4.25, but did they all earn perfect marks in every single course of 4 years of high school? In my son's school, in Honors Lit, not one student received an A last year, the highest grade the teacher awarded was an A-. Sounds like Redmond should take a look at what qualifies of mastery of the subject matter, deserving of an A grade.

    June 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Lu

      Be happy for the kids. They did a great job.. so much for finding something to pick apart. Get a new hobby.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
      • Joey

        What Ellen said is on point. Your retort makes no sense. Ellen is not saying that 28 out of 29 were undeserving of acclomation. She's simply pointing out that the school most likely opted not to pick the best out of 29 to represent the scool as the valedictorian. If so, they diminished the idea of having one.

        Your retort makes it seem like you would rather just do away with having a valedictorian all together ... If I were to respomd to your post in the same manner as you responded to Ellen.

        Yes. All 29 deserve acclomation. But that wasn't the topic discussed, thus your response refutes itself.

        June 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • rc

      It sounds like "valedictorian" is awarded due to getting a perfect, or better than perfect, GPA. If it's defined as the "most outstanding graduate", and it's possible to get straight As for 4 years (equalling a 4.0 GPA), and college prep courses give you bonus points, and aceing those gets you a 5.0 GPA...then yes, it's possible for there to be multiple people with the same 5.0 GPA. I'm curious...if an A = 100 and straight As = 4.0 GPA, then if you get a 5.0 GPA, is that like a 120? 150? 200? The problem, if there is one, seems to be that the determination of valedictorian isn't based on a scale that's granular enough.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:25 am |
  29. booboobear

    The point is they work they're butt off to achieve something more than their peers. Good job, kids!

    June 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  30. us_1776

    Yes, I graduated top of my class.

    So did my whole class.

    How worthless.

    .

    June 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • gorgegirl

      Redmond probably has a graduating class of around 500 students and a higher than normal graduation rate. If you read the article, this result only came about because of a change in the grading system. Next year, there will be one valedictorian.
      Redmond is located near Bend, Oregon – a very desirable place for people to live.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
      • Alan S

        Gorgegirl: Yes, Oregon is a great place to live, but us_1776's comment remains valid.

        June 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  31. J.T.

    I see no problem with what the school did, if the 29 students who were valedictorians met the requirements of that school then congratulations to them on their hard work. When I graduated from high school in 2008 my school did not do class rankings or honor a valedictorian at graduation, but that did not stop anyone from working hard or trying to achieve good grades.

    June 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  32. nicolaa

    You act like this is a recent phenomenom. I was one of twelve valedictorians when I graduated in 1985 (from a high school that sent about 95% of its students on to post-secondary education). This was before the rise of advanced placement classes with weighted grades (we had some AP classes, but they were graded on the same scale as other classes), so we all simply had 4.0 averages in a class of 565. There were differences within the group as to the rigor of our programs (some had taken more advanced coursework than others) but we all got to speak; several of us chose to do so as part of groups. After weighted grades for AP classes came in a couple of years later things changed so that multiple valedictorians became a thing of the past.

    June 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  33. Dana

    Not certain that would work here. The Val is determined by GPA and receives a first year scholarship from the state to a state school. (in Texas)

    June 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Mordac

      That sounds like punishment to me.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  34. chieftrainer

    The fact that 29 students can obtain a "perfect" GPA says either the school needs to reassess their grading policy or most likely they need to reassess the quality of the courses being taught.

    June 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • rc

      I would be more concerned with the typically high dropout rate of high schoolers...you know, those kids that become unwed mothers, underage alcoholics, uneducated poverty dwellers...than I ever would by "too many" students getting perfect grades. Bravo to them for staying in school for four years and focusing on getting excellent grades. Now let's put our effort into keeping kids in school.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:29 am |
      • chieftrainer

        I agree, but that was not the point of the article

        June 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  35. barbara451

    I repeat. This is so wrong. I teach these young people in community college and they come with the privileged perspective that they should be rewarded regardless of how they perform "I always got A's in High School" I hear that all the time when the student is a C or B student at best.

    June 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • CADET

      Guess the problem is that these 4.0 h.s. students don't realize that they are now in college with a bunch of other students who are just as smart or smarter than they are; who may have taken even more honors classes in h.s.; may have had private tutors to give them a leg up, etc.

      June 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Dawn

      I agree, as a valedictorian both in high school and college, high school valedictorians go into college thinking they have it aced and tend to forget that they are now a little fish in a big pond where professors really do not cae what your grade is and it is now the students responsibility to study and learn...I found college to be a whole different world the first time arounds and as I have returned to college in my early 40"s working on another degree, I still see the "Big FIsh LittleFish' syndrome. Just because you did not crack a book in high school does not mean you can do the same in college.

      June 7, 2013 at 3:19 am |
  36. DustyOnes

    Everybody gets a trophy....

    June 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • 6th chick

      sportsmedic22 has it right – these are the most vigorous of classes. these kids may be overachievers, but they work their butts off.

      June 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • shaggs138

        I doubt however that they have taken college classes their entire time in high school, making impossible for them to get a 5.0 GPA.

        June 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  37. STY

    This is what we're reduced to now. To make all students feel good about themselves, we're going to make them all valedictorians! What a bunch of BS.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Mordac

      The Special Olympics of schools.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  38. Barack Obama

    A valedictorian is not the number one student, but the student who gives the "farewell speech" (the actual meaning of valedictorian). In many places, it is simply the best overall student as voted by peers from a group of high achieving, well-rounded students who participated in a bunch of extracurriculars and have significant community involvement.

    June 6, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Dean

      Nothing is voted upon. val·e·dic·to·ri·an (vl-dk-tôr-n, -tr-)
      n.
      The student with the highest academic rank in a class who delivers the valedictory at graduation.

      Barrack seems to be as inept here as he is running the country.

      June 6, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Tired_of_Assumptions

      A valedictorian is the student with the highest GPA. Students do not vote for who has this right and it has nothing to do with extracurricular activities. In fact, most of the valedictorians I know were very light on extracurricular activities when they graduated.

      June 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
      • Michael

        ... or tended to have extra-curriculars like: Debate Team, Latin/Greek Club, Chess Team, National Honor Society, etc...

        June 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Brandine

      I appreciate your attempt to explain Latin to the masses.

      June 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  39. sportsmedic22

    The possibility of the 5.0 GPA came about with the Advance Placement (AP) and Pre-AP classes. There is a muliplier for the students taking the more rigorous AP classes which produce college credit. To be honest, the AP math and history classes my daughter took in high school were more difficult than the ones I took in college. The student who takes the college level AP course gets more points for an A that the person who takes the standard high school courses. GPA has other uses besides valedictorian. In Texas, you need to be in the top 7% of your class to be guaranteed admission to the University of Texas. The multipliers were needed to coax students and parents into the more rigorous AP classes and not endanger their chances of getting into UT.

    June 6, 2013 at 11:43 am |
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    June 6, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  41. Jay

    I agree with Scooby!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ON THE FLOOR LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 6, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  42. Scooby

    Must be a dumb school if it is so easy to be a valedictorian.

    June 6, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  43. Dean

    A 5.0 GPA and not one of them received an education anywhere near as good as the ones with a 4.00GPA before there was a Department of Education or teacher's unions.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  44. TNGO

    It's good that these high schools are preparing the children for the real world where EVERYONE is a winner! Not everyone can be first, and in my high school, back in the day, they went to the one thousandth degree to see who was top of the class. It was very close, but it was fair.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • mkjp

      Exactly the same way it happened at my high school. This insane insistance to not just let someone be better than the rest is absurd.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Dean

      Yep, not only GPA's but actual individual test scores.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • NEB

      I graduated 3 years ago, and we still separated it into 1 valedictorian and 1 salutatorian. 1 clear cut best. 1 clear cut 2nd best. They need to take it down to the hundredth of a point. This theory people have, that everyone no one should be upset, and everyone should be given stuff is absurd. It is ruining this country, it is ruining the entrepreneurial mindset of the American Dream.

      June 6, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  45. steve

    Why not just let everyone be valedictorians. That way everyone will feel good and it will reduce any insentive to work hard.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • B33tle

      Would it give any incentive to spell better?

      June 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  46. K.P.

    Ridiculous.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:28 am |