GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Pitt County Board of Education is pondering whether to do away with the titles given to the academically highest-ranking students in each graduating class.
The school board hasn’t formally discussed the idea of no longer using the valedictorian and salutatorian titles, but District 5 representative Anna Barrett Smith did advocate for the change at a policy committee meeting last month, saying she feels “strongly that our kids are suffering a pressure that is unnecessary.”
The school board didn’t discuss the topic during its meeting Monday night, but a couple of board members shared their thoughts on the issue.
Smith said some members of the board wanted to discuss doing away with the titles after hearing feedback from the public. She said there should be more conversations about opening up additional ways for students to achieve academic honors, rather than limiting it to the top two students in a graduating class.
“We need balance,” Smith said. “I personally want to send kids out of the system that are whole people with a myriad of experiences, not just academic.”
“Some parents had concerns that children are studying harder, trying to advance further and put a lot of pressure on them,” Chairman James Tripp said.
Smith added that the board wants to set clear expectations to students know what they can achieve when they start out as high school freshmen.
Tripp said no decision had been made, but discussions are ongoing. He said that even if a change is decided upon, it could be years before it goes into effect.