Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Co-Valedictorians Crowd Academic Tradition Off The Stage

My mother was the valedictorian of her senior class in high school over fifty years ago. She doesn’t remember exactlywhat she said at graduation, but she does remember having to memorize her speech word for word. “You weren’t allowed to read your speech at all.” In a rural farming community that understood how important and education was for the future of their children, being recognized as the top academic student in her school meant a lot.

If my memory serves me correctly, my own grade point rank put me somewhere in the high twenties or low thirties in my own senior class ranking order, where more than five hundred students earned diplomas. Now that I think about it, somewhere in the high twenties sounds about right, especially since we had weighted averages for more difficult classes—basically, everyone who took both AP Calculus, one of the few AP classes I didn’t take, was ahead of me, since I didn’t dare step into the world of floating polynomials.

But if I had graduated this year, instead of 25 years ago, I still might have had a shot at being a valedictorian myself, even with a class rank in the double digits. In the Sunday edition of the New York Times, the article titled How Many Graduates Does It Take to Be No. 1? held me attention so long my coffee got cold.



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