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Hampton school officials to review valedictorian requirements

| Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 9:04 p.m.

Hampton Township School District officials again will look at the requirements for naming valedictorians after the total number of students with top honors reached 19 for the 2013-14 graduating class.

An ad hoc committee will review the issue in response to school board members' concerns about the increasing numbers of valedictorians named each year and provide a recommendation as soon as the January 2015 board meeting, Superintendent John Hoover said.

Potential changes would take effect starting with the Class of 2017, the current sophomore class.

The school board revised the valedictorian policy in 2009 to allow for more than one valedictorian.

Hoover said when the issue was reviewed at that time, district officials found that scholarships were granted to students who achieved valedictorian status, regardless of how many valedictorians were named at a school.

One of the reasons the change was made was to provide scholarship opportunities to more Hampton High School students.

Currently, to be named valedictorian, a high school student must earn at least 28 credits, not withdraw from any classes and achieve a quality-point average of 4.35 or above.

Assistant Superintendent Jeff Finch, will lead the committee, and high school assistant principal Michael Amick is working to assemble members of the committee, which will include teachers and administrators.

Finch said the committee also hopes to reach out to other people, including former valedictorians about the process as they experienced it.

“I think a lot of people, their knee-jerk reaction is to raise the QPA,” Finch said.

“You have to look at other (issues) you create in getting over that benchmark. How does that sacrifice electives or schedules?”

For example, Finch said to decrease the 2013-14 valedictorian total to 10, one student who achieved an “A” in every course in high school would have been eliminated because the student took more courses in the arts, which are not weighted as heavily as honors and Advanced Placement courses.

“Everybody thinks this is an easy fix,” Finch said. “You don't come to an answer quickly.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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