Some people tend to breeze through school when they do as little as possible to get by. Other people begin working hard from the time that they are very young and they are goal driven, trying to graduate with honors. When you look at any graduating class, there are going to be different levels as far as achievements are concerned but somebody is always going to come out on top. Unfortunately, this high school senior was not given recognition, even though he was at the top of his class.
There were new rules implemented by this school at the last minute and Joshua Allman was not named as the valedictorian of his class. Even though he had worked all those years to achieve this goal, he was robbed of his prize.
The school district where Joshua spent 12 years of his life decided to forgo the valedictorian system. They implemented a Latin honors ranking, claiming that it was better for the students. In their words it was a, “better way to recognize students who may have barely missed being named valedictorian or salutatorian by several decimal places.”
The school district decided that these new rules should be put into place right away. Even though he had worked hard to achieve a goal within the valedictorian system, he had that prize snatched away from him at the last minute.
Gary, Joshua’s father knew that it was important to recognize the achievement of his son. He purchased a billboard on Highway 264 in Wake County, North Carolina. It was a celebration of what his son achieved by working hard all those years.
A picture of the billboard was posted on Facebook which read, “Joshua Allmon will always be our Valedictorian.”
He then put a caption on the post, “East Wake High School and Wake County Public School Board may not recognize Josh’s hard work but we will.”
Joshua also had something to say about the situation. He posted the following on Twitter: ““It’s a stupid rule that will hurt students down the line, but it’ll accomplish their goal of making everyone feel equal.” Even though he graduated with a GPA of 5.31, he was not named as the valedictorian.
Getting good grades was only part of what Joshua was able to accomplish. He also held down a part-time job, had his tuition paid for, and participated in sports. According to the local news station, WRAL, he plans on attending the University of North Carolina, where he will study chemical engineering and paper science engineering. He also plans on minoring in business.
This video says it all:
Joshua made the following statement to Fox News: “I was flabbergasted when I first saw the billboard, and enjoyed the recognition that it gave, but was also appreciative of the fact that it allowed for a broader message/warning to be shared.”
He then went on to post this on Twitter: “It was a public statement, geared towards an increased public awareness on the negative effects that come with such policies. High achieving students have their reputations undermined by them.”
“It’s impossible to compete on the national stage when your accomplishments are limited by the system you have no choice but to come through. New policies are aimed at making everyone feel as if they achieved equally; this is simply not the case. Some people simply work harder.”
Many people are agreeing with Joshua. The new system may help students to feel like they are on equal ground but it does not reward students who put in extra work. It also doesn’t provide much incentive for students to work harder.
On top of it, the University placements and scholarships are very competitive. Joshua was competing against other students who were valedictorians but he lost his ability to compete in that field because of a change in the rules.
Schools should recognize that we do not live in a world that always offers equal chances. Students need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom and that life is very competitive.
In the end, Joshua did get recognition but it was on a billboard, not in the classroom. The billboard stayed online for 10 days, including graduation day, June 12.