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Franklin Regional's '1 top scholar' tradition to continue

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 12:25 a.m.

Although it might come down to a mere fraction of a point, Franklin Regional School District will continue to honor only one graduating senior as valedictorian.

After a lengthy debate during Monday's school board meeting, directors voted 7-1 in favor of retaining the Murrysville high school's tradition of naming just one top scholar.

Earlier this month, board members debated honoring any student who meets the necessary criteria. The proposed honor system would have begun with the Class of 2017.

“We have some very high-achieving students here, and I get that,” Director Kimberly Bondi said.

But she said she does not want to take away from the achievement of the highest scholar and voted to support the tradition.

In order to earn the valedictorian title, a student must achieve a cumulative academic-weight rank of a 4.4 grade point average or higher.

Typically, the top students' ranks are separated by hundredths of a point, Principal Ron Suvak said.

“It's very competitive,” he said. “Students tend to make instructional decisions based on how it will impact their class rank.”

All seniors who earn a 4.0 or higher — usually between 60 and 80 — are recognized at a banquet every year, Suvak said. During the past three years, between eight and 12 students each year would have met the criteria to be named as a valedictorian, he said.

Suvak said he made the recommendation to reflect what he believes is the district's mission.

“Overwhelmingly, a majority of colleges don't require class rank and a large majority of students don't report class rank” on college applications, he said.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or adolasinski@tribweb.com.

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