New York, USA – In a feat that has left educators and students astounded, Jericho High School’s Class of 2023 has shattered records by producing not one, not two, but an astonishing 15 valedictorians. This unexpected phenomenon has sparked curiosity and admiration among both the school community and the wider public, prompting the question: How did such an extraordinary event come to pass?
The journey to this momentous achievement began a few months ago when senior Danush Sinnan received a summons to the co-principal’s office. Uncertain about the reason for the summons, Sinnan was pleasantly surprised to discover that he and his peers had been named valedictorians of their graduating class. The magnitude of the announcement was overwhelming, as the number of valedictorians far exceeded their expectations.
The fact that Jericho High School now boasts 15 valedictorians has raised eyebrows and invited speculation. This remarkable milestone represents a record for the school in recent decades. However, the rationale behind this unusually high number can be attributed to the school’s utilization of an unweighted formula in determining valedictorian status. Unlike many other institutions that employ weighted systems, Jericho High School’s approach disregards the rigor of the courses undertaken throughout students’ high school journey.
Hank Grishman, the superintendent of the school district for the past 28 years, expressed his appreciation for the recognition of numerous students’ academic accomplishments over their four-year tenure. He lauded the ability to acknowledge the achievements of a vast number of students, underscoring the significance of their dedication and hard work.
Yet, amidst the celebration of these exceptional students, concerns have been raised regarding the potential dilution of the valedictorian distinction. While the large number of valedictorians is a testament to the excellence of the graduating class, it has also triggered contemplation about the necessity for a more refined selection process that takes into account the varying levels of academic rigor students undertake. Some of the valedictorians themselves expressed the need for an updated system that recognizes students who have challenged themselves with more demanding coursework, such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes in subjects like chemistry, physics, and calculus.
The imminent commencement ceremony, scheduled for Sunday morning, poses an intriguing question: Who will deliver the valedictory address?
The answer: All 15 valedictorians will have the opportunity to speak, albeit for a brief 90 seconds each. This unusual arrangement further highlights the exceptional nature of this graduating class.
While Jericho High School’s achievement in producing multiple valedictorians is highly unusual, a handful of other schools on Long Island have also witnessed the emergence of more than one valedictorian this graduation season. Notable among them are Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington (3), West Islip High School (3), Great Neck North High School (2), Commack High School (2), and South Side High School in Rockville Centre (2).
The unweighted formula employed by Jericho High School has been in place for several years and has consistently resulted in multiple valedictorians. However, the current situation has prompted the school board to revisit the weighting system for high school courses. The revised system, set to take effect in July, will be thoroughly examined in the coming year, with input from students, teachers, and parents. The school board president, Jill Citron, emphasized the importance of considering the opinions of all stakeholders, particularly the students. Any potential changes to the selection process may not affect the graduating class of 2024 and could take several years to implement, considering the mindset and aspirations of current high school students striving to achieve valedictorian status.
Within the walls of Jericho High School, students acknowledged the competitive environment that permeates the institution, not only in terms of grades but also in extracurricular activities. Some voiced concerns about the potential burden and pressure that a revised system might impose on future students. The delicate balance between recognizing individual achievements and fostering collaboration among students has become a topic of contemplation and debate.
The extraordinary accomplishment of Jericho High School’s Class of 2023 in producing 15 valedictorians has captivated attention both locally and beyond. It stands as a testament to the collective academic prowess and dedication of these exceptional individuals. As the school community awaits the commencement ceremony, anticipation and excitement fill the air, underscoring the indelible mark this remarkable graduating class will leave on the annals of Jericho High School’s history.