Ohio high school eliminating valedictorian honor

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MASON, Ohio (WKRC/CNN) — A high school in Ohio will no longer name a class valedictorian and salutatorian, beginning with the class of 2020.

Judi Hu is one smart cookie with the grade point average to prove it.

“Second semester of sophomore year it was a 4.38. And right now I think it’s around like a 4.5,” Hu said.

Judy’s not alone at Mason High School. School leaders say 40 percent of the students graduate with a 4.0 or higher and the desire to overachieve can create a lot of stress.

“There’s definitely moments too and I was really stressed out like I remember last year when I like I like one of my first b’s. I was like really stressed out about that.” concerns about depression and anxiety led Mason High School to do away with a class valedictorian and salutatorian starting in 2020,” Hu said. “I think there’s only like a couple of people trying for that like usually there’s only like three or four.”

Mason will switch to the Latin honors system designating students anything from cum laude to summa cum laude.

One of the reasons Mason is doing this is because of something called college credit plus courses. Those were mandated by the state of Ohio a few years ago and they’re given the same amount of weight as an advanced placement course.

But Mason school officials say it’s created somewhat of an unhealthy competition among those highest achieving students.

“It is really creating a better climate, a better health for our students,” Bobby Dodd, principal of Mason High School said.

Principal Dodd wants students to focus on learning and growing – not chasing the highest possible GPA.

“These past couple years we’ve seen a trend where students are not taking the classes because they want to learn more about a subject. They’re taking the classes because of a weighted GPA they can receive,” Dodd said.

Dodd says there are some that aren’t happy about the change. But after a year of studying it, it’s a done deal.

For Hu, that’s a-ok.

“I don’t think it’ll bring like about like that big of like an impact on most of the students,” Hu said.

Mason schools is also making other changes. High school classes will start a half hour later, and the district is considering reducing the amount of homework and summer work.

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