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article imageNiagara Falls High School First to Cancel Ranking System

By Andrew Moran     Jun 28, 2009 in World
In one of many high schools to start canceling their ranking system, Niagara Falls High School is the first to adopt the system of fairness ranking, where everyone is a valedictorian.
Majority of elementary and secondary institutions are finishing their school years on Monday however, when seniors graduate at a Niagara Falls high school, they will be known as a valedictorian. Why? Because a Niagara Falls High School will be the first in Niagara County to eliminate class rankings and valedictorians. According to education officials, the decision was made out of fairness to the rest of the class.
At the end of the school day, students in one class will all be valedictorians instead of their true rank out of eighteen. “We felt it was nice to recognize a valedictorian, but those other kids were so close. We’re talking hundredths of a point sometimes. We felt they were all deserving,” said James Spanbauer who is the principal of the high school.
However, one 17-year-old student, who had worked hard all year, believes the new system is unfair, “It was disappointing because I had been working hard all these years to be No. 1. That was my goal. It took a long time for me to, like, be OK with it.”
According to the Buffalo News, in order to be considered as a valedictorian, you must have at least a 94% average, at least 90% on some exams and completed three advanced courses and exams.
Other high schools will be implementing this system soon and Principal Frank Movalli of the closest school near Niagara Falls High School, Lockport High School, believes it is a good system because of the closeness per year, “It causes a lot of consternation and checking and double-checking of the averages. Sometimes it comes down to the last exam. One student gets a 98 and one gets a 99 and that nudges them over,” Mr. Movalli explained.
An 18-year-old valedictory student, Ashton Lavendar, told Buffalo news, “We’re all friends; we’re all just happy we’re all here together. But some of us are still curious.”
After reading the blogs on the Buffalo News website, a lot of readers disagree with the idea and some say, “This is training for socialism where everyone is equally poor. This also kills the power of achievement. Bruised feelings had proven to be a huge motivator throughout the centuries. Now you just wallow in mediocrity and hope a [government] program gets you through life.” “Fair to whom? Not to the one who work hard to be at the 'head of class', not to any of the 18 graduates. Just an easy way out of offending those graduates and their families. There's no winner in their cowardice to grade whatever each one deserves.”
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