School district eliminates class rank

by Julia Falgione

Starting this year, class rank has been abolished from Shaler Area. Before, class rank was a ranking of students based on many different factors like the amount of AP classes taken.
The district is using a new system, the collegiate Latin Honors System. There are three different levels in this system. Summa Cum Laude is the title reserved for the top 10%, Magna Cum Laude is the title for the top 20% and Cum Laude is the title for the top 30%. These rankings are based solely off of each student’s weighted GPA at the end of senior year.
One of the biggest reasons, it seems, to get rid of class rank was the fact that apparently students were taking weighted classes to boost their GPA.
“I think every student should take art classes, tech-ed classes, or businesses classes, but sometimes because these courses are not weighted, students expressed they were avoiding those classes because they wanted the quality points to boost their rank,” Principal Dr. Timothy Royall said.
The idea to get rid of class rank has been talked about for many years and the decision was not made lightly.
“Many colleges do not even use class rank anymore, so we did a lot of research to present to the board and central office,” guidance counselor, Mrs. MaryBeth Miller said. “Many schools across the country have not been using class rank for years. Class rank is a very small picture of what a student can do.”
One other thing this new system will affect is the people who will speak at graduation.
Before, the speakers at graduation were the valedictorian, the salutatorian and the class president. Now, without class rank, the speakers will be the class president, a representative voted by the top 10% and a “Student at Large” who must apply and then will be picked by administrators. The Student at Large can be anyone in the class.
There are some opposing opinions to getting rid of class rank.
“Getting rid of class rank eliminates any form of pride for hardworking students. Many of my peers have been working relentlessly for the past four years, taking AP and CHS classes because they chose to challenge themselves, NOT because they care about their GPA. The fact that I will not see their last names hanging in the auditorium is sad,” senior Michaela Brining said.
Class rank in Shaler Area is still a controversial topic, especially for seniors, who are the first class to have this idea put into action.