Students speak out against new honors policy for Huntsville City Schools

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Huntsville City Schools are getting rid of naming valedictorians and salutatorians in their schools, and some students aren’t happy about the change.

Beginning this school year, the top two students at Huntsville City high schools won’t be named valedictorians and salutatorians. The schools will also no longer recognize the top 10 or top 20 students. Instead, the schools will honor all students who graduate with GPAs of 3.8 or higher.

Many seniors say this is unfair to the students who take honors and AP classes, and those who made it a goal to graduate in the top 20 won’t gain the title they’ve been working years to get.

Hunter Barlow, a Huntsville High School senior who was in the top 20 at her school, is speaking out against this new policy.

“I’ve worked so hard to get this honor, and then I’m going to be recognized the same as somebody who took all regular classes all four years of high school and still got an A because those classes are so easy to get A’s in for people who don’t want to put in the work,” said Barlow.

Honor Graduate Policy 7.11…. by Claire Farrow on Scribd

Under the new policy, the honors will be determined by all of their semester averages beginning in ninth grade. The only honors given out will be Summa Cum Laude and Magna Cum Laude. Some are worried the new policy will hurt their chances at getting college scholarships.

“I know a lot of colleges still require class rank to look at scholarships, and I’d love to see if I could get a full ride to college just from my academics,” said Barlow.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville offers scholarships based on merit and need, but they say their main focus is on the students’ scores.

UAH Chief of Staff, Ray Garner, said, “The primary determination that we make when we’re judging financial aid packages for our students are the ACT scores and the grade point average from high school, and we’ll accept those right up to the time that they’re going to be coming to UAH.”

The students argue that class rank allows colleges to pick out the students who do more than just score well on a standardized test.

The concerned students created a GroupMe yesterday to talk about the new policy. They say they’re reaching out to the school board to change the policy back.

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