Valedictorians and ranking should stay

Grace Lu

Eun Cho/The Explorer

      Numbers are not everything, but they certainly are important. As underclassmen begin to fret about high school rankings that usually factor into college admission decisions, one notion needs to be set straight: these rankings are only in place to benefit students at Hudson High School. 

     According to Guidance Department Chair John Frahlich, only the top 10 percent of each class is ranked. This means those who have succeeded in the classroom are recognized for their efforts while others are not penalized. Another reason for this 10 percent rule is to aid Hudson High School students who attend an extremely competitive school. If all students were ranked, many would be unfairly hurt just because they attend a high achieving high school.

     Rankings have been a tradition at Hudson High, allowing students, parents, guidance counselors and colleges to see how a student has performed throughout his or her high school career relative to his or her classmates. According to Frahlich, a ranking proves how strong a student is. In the past, all students were given a rank, but after a study was conducted in 2001 by previous HHS Counseling Department Chair Dr. Ziegler, the policy was altered beginning in the 2002-2003 school year to better suit students.

     College admissions, scholarship competitions and job applications usually request information concerning a student’s ranking and use the data to make an informed decision. A high ranking is a statement to colleges, scholarship committees and employers of a student’s commitment and attitude toward education.

     As Frahlich puts it, “Rankings may cause stress for some students, but they really are a show of drive and ambition. We would never want to discourage determined students from performing their best.”

     Therefore, as opponents of high school rankings argue, stress may be a serious concern to consider but is by no means a reason to stop the top performing students from earning the accolades and recognition they deserve. In fact, rankings can motivate students to do their best in classes if they know something important, such as their ranking, is on the line. As high-schoolers find it harder to find the motivation to do homework and study as years wear on, rankings provide the incentive for students to keep up good habits that will only benefit them in college and beyond.

     With rankings at Hudson determined by weighted grade point averages (GPAs), competitive students may be discouraged from taking courses that interest them but are not Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) levels. When students find themselves in this situation, Frahlich advises to “follow your heart.” Yet he also understands students needed to find a balance between their personal philosophy and priorities in selecting a regular course on a 4.0 scale versus an AP course on a 5.0 scale. In higher-level courses, though, students are not only given a boost in GPAs if they can maintain good grades, but they show colleges they are taking more rigorous courses and perhaps even earning college credit to save money in the future.

     Given the positives of high school rankings at Hudson High, rankings will continue to benefit those who deserve the rewards of their hard work and motivate others who seek a purpose in school.

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2012-05-17 10:03:15

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