Goodbye valedictorian: Perry converts to Latin honors

Jordyn Sloan, Arts & Entertainment Writer

For the past two years, Perry Meridian has undergone many significant changes. From hiring a new principal, to changing counselors, to dividing the classes into teams and even implementing a new lanyard rule, PMHS is simply under construction.
One of the more prominent changes is the termination of class rank. Students in Perry Township, following the graduating class of 2020, will no longer be aware of their ranking.
The naming of valedictorian and salutatorian, students with the highest and second highest grade point average, will be eliminated from township academic standards.
“We feel as if the current ranking system only honors a very limited number of students” principal Kert Boedicker says. “That can be very detrimental to academic growth.”
A new program called the Latin honor system will be implemented in place of the ranking system Perry Township has grown accustomed to.
The Latin honor system is commonly used in universities. In 1869, Harvard University was the first institution in the United States to use this system.
The system consists of three separate branches of ranking. The highest level of achievement, Summa Cum Laude, is the group of students who, throughout their high school careers, have achieved a GPA of 4.0 or higher.
The middle division, Magna Cum Laude, is the honor given to students who maintain a minimum GPA of 3.8.
The bottom tier of the Latin honor system is called Cum Laude, a distinction given to students that achieved a GPA of at least 3.5.
“The Latin Honor system is really a mechanism we are going to use in order to recognize more students for their academic strengths,” Boedicker says.
Not only will Perry Meridian be making the switch, but Southport High School will as well.
Boedicker and Southport High School principal, Brian Knight, proposed the idea of converting to Latin honor to the Indiana Board of Education last year.
“We really looked at the pros and cons of using the Latin honor system in order to build an argument,” Boedicker says.
The change in class rank at Perry Meridian has emphasized the pros and cons of instilling the Latin honor system as opposed to traditional ranking by GPA.
As a result of the current ranking system, students often prioritize GPA and how it compares to the ranking of their peers.
Senior Mackenzie Lewis is the projected Valedictorian for the class of 2019.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Lewis says. “Class rank motivates me to be a better student, but I know not everyone works that way.”
The class of 2021 is the last graduating class from Perry Township that will operate under the standard system of ranking students based solely on grade point average.
Junior Joseph Carper is currently ranked first in his class, possibly the last named Valedictorian Perry Meridian will have.
“The first thing students see when they walk into the school is the top ten of each class,” Carper says. “It’s discouraging to other students, but it is a measure of hard work.”
According to the Great Schools Partnership, a non-profit organization designed to support public schooling, the Latin honor system is a method developed in order to more accurately reflect a student’s learning process and achievements, rather than comparing accomplishments to those of other students.
“Some students will even drop art and music programs in order to take classes for their GPA,” Boedicker says.
By converting to the Latin honor system, Perry Township hopes to limit the number of students taking classes solely for the grade instead of practical interests.
However, there are a few significant Perry traditions that depend on class ranking to honor students.
For instance, Perry holds an annual academic banquet for the top 40 students in the senior class.
Since students will no longer be aware of their class rank, it is currently unclear whether or not the top forty students will still be recognized in the form of a banquet.
In addition to the academic banquet, it is the norm that the valedictorian and salutatorian will deliver speeches to the class at commencement in May.
Instead of automatically allowing the top two students to give speeches, members of the Summa Cum Laude group will be given the opportunity to apply to speak at graduation.
“Commencement is a new beginning for our students,” Boedicker says. “They will apply and submit their ideas to a committee. There is value in hearing from various voices in an entire class.”
Boedicker assures that all the mishaps will be resolved by 2021, when the Latin honor system becomes official.
“Everything will be ironed out when the time comes,” he says.
With the Latin honor system, it is anticipated that the student body collectively feels more recognized for academic achievements, even if they are not number one in the class.
“We really just want to develop passion in our students, not just GPA’s,” Boedicker says.

For the past two years, Perry Meridian has undergone many significant changes. From hiring a new principal, to changing counselors, to dividing the classes into teams and even implementing a new lanyard rule, PMHS is simply under construction.
One of the more prominent changes is the termination of class rank. Students in Perry Township, following the graduating class of 2020, will no longer be aware of their ranking.
The naming of valedictorian and salutatorian, students with the highest and second highest grade point average, will be eliminated from township academic standards.
“We feel as if the current ranking system only honors a very limited number of students” principal Kert Boedicker says. “That can be very detrimental to academic growth.”
A new program called the Latin honor system will be implemented in place of the ranking system Perry Township has grown accustomed to.
The Latin honor system is commonly used in universities. In 1869, Harvard University was the first institution in the United States to use this system.
The system consists of three separate branches of ranking. The highest level of achievement, Summa Cum Laude, is the group of students who, throughout their high school careers, have achieved a GPA of 4.0 or higher.
The middle division, Magna Cum Laude, is the honor given to students who maintain a minimum GPA of 3.8.
The bottom tier of the Latin honor system is called Cum Laude, a distinction given to students that achieved a GPA of at least 3.5.
“The Latin Honor system is really a mechanism we are going to use in order to recognize more students for their academic strengths,” Boedicker says.
Not only will Perry Meridian be making the switch, but Southport High School will as well.
Boedicker and Southport High School principal, Brian Knight, proposed the idea of converting to Latin honor to the Indiana Board of Education last year.
“We really looked at the pros and cons of using the Latin honor system in order to build an argument,” Boedicker says.
The change in class rank at Perry Meridian has emphasized the pros and cons of instilling the Latin honor system as opposed to traditional ranking by GPA.
As a result of the current ranking system, students often prioritize GPA and how it compares to the ranking of their peers.
Senior Mackenzie Lewis is the projected Valedictorian for the class of 2019.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Lewis says. “Class rank motivates me to be a better student, but I know not everyone works that way.”
The class of 2021 is the last graduating class from Perry Township that will operate under the standard system of ranking students based solely on grade point average.
Junior Joseph Carper is currently ranked first in his class, possibly the last named Valedictorian Perry Meridian will have.
“The first thing students see when they walk into the school is the top ten of each class,” Carper says. “It’s discouraging to other students, but it is a measure of hard work.”
According to the Great Schools Partnership, a non-profit organization designed to support public schooling, the Latin honor system is a method developed in order to more accurately reflect a student’s learning process and achievements, rather than comparing accomplishments to those of other students.
“Some students will even drop art and music programs in order to take classes for their GPA,” Boedicker says.
By converting to the Latin honor system, Perry Township hopes to limit the number of students taking classes solely for the grade instead of practical interests.
However, there are a few significant Perry traditions that depend on class ranking to honor students.
For instance, Perry holds an annual academic banquet for the top 40 students in the senior class.
Since students will no longer be aware of their class rank, it is currently unclear whether or not the top forty students will still be recognized in the form of a banquet.
In addition to the academic banquet, it is the norm that the valedictorian and salutatorian will deliver speeches to the class at commencement in May.
Instead of automatically allowing the top two students to give speeches, members of the Summa Cum Laude group will be given the opportunity to apply to speak at graduation.
“Commencement is a new beginning for our students,” Boedicker says. “They will apply and submit their ideas to a committee. There is value in hearing from various voices in an entire class.”
Boedicker assures that all the mishaps will be resolved by 2021, when the Latin honor system becomes official.
“Everything will be ironed out when the time comes,” he says.
With the Latin honor system, it is anticipated that the student body collectively feels more recognized for academic achievements, even if they are not number one in the class.
“We really just want to develop passion in our students, not just GPA’s,” Boedicker says. For the past two years, Perry Meridian has undergone many significant changes. From hiring a new principal, to changing counselors, to dividing the classes into teams and even implementing a new lanyard rule, PMHS is simply under construction.
One of the more prominent changes is the termination of class rank. Students in Perry Township, following the graduating class of 2020, will no longer be aware of their ranking.
The naming of valedictorian and salutatorian, students with the highest and second highest grade point average, will be eliminated from township academic standards.
“We feel as if the current ranking system only honors a very limited number of students” principal Kert Boedicker says. “That can be very detrimental to academic growth.”
A new program called the Latin honor system will be implemented in place of the ranking system Perry Township has grown accustomed to.
The Latin honor system is commonly used in universities. In 1869, Harvard University was the first institution in the United States to use this system.
The system consists of three separate branches of ranking. The highest level of achievement, Summa Cum Laude, is the group of students who, throughout their high school careers, have achieved a GPA of 4.0 or higher.
The middle division, Magna Cum Laude, is the honor given to students who maintain a minimum GPA of 3.8.
The bottom tier of the Latin honor system is called Cum Laude, a distinction given to students that achieved a GPA of at least 3.5.
“The Latin Honor system is really a mechanism we are going to use in order to recognize more students for their academic strengths,” Boedicker says.
Not only will Perry Meridian be making the switch, but Southport High School will as well.
Boedicker and Southport High School principal, Brian Knight, proposed the idea of converting to Latin honor to the Indiana Board of Education last year.
“We really looked at the pros and cons of using the Latin honor system in order to build an argument,” Boedicker says.
The change in class rank at Perry Meridian has emphasized the pros and cons of instilling the Latin honor system as opposed to traditional ranking by GPA.
As a result of the current ranking system, students often prioritize GPA and how it compares to the ranking of their peers.
Senior Mackenzie Lewis is the projected Valedictorian for the class of 2019.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Lewis says. “Class rank motivates me to be a better student, but I know not everyone works that way.”
The class of 2021 is the last graduating class from Perry Township that will operate under the standard system of ranking students based solely on grade point average.
Junior Joseph Carper is currently ranked first in his class, possibly the last named Valedictorian Perry Meridian will have.
“The first thing students see when they walk into the school is the top ten of each class,” Carper says. “It’s discouraging to other students, but it is a measure of hard work.”
According to the Great Schools Partnership, a non-profit organization designed to support public schooling, the Latin honor system is a method developed in order to more accurately reflect a student’s learning process and achievements, rather than comparing accomplishments to those of other students.
“Some students will even drop art and music programs in order to take classes for their GPA,” Boedicker says.
By converting to the Latin honor system, Perry Township hopes to limit the number of students taking classes solely for the grade instead of practical interests.
However, there are a few significant Perry traditions that depend on class ranking to honor students.
For instance, Perry holds an annual academic banquet for the top 40 students in the senior class.
Since students will no longer be aware of their class rank, it is currently unclear whether or not the top forty students will still be recognized in the form of a banquet.
In addition to the academic banquet, it is the norm that the valedictorian and salutatorian will deliver speeches to the class at commencement in May.
Instead of automatically allowing the top two students to give speeches, members of the Summa Cum Laude group will be given the opportunity to apply to speak at graduation.
“Commencement is a new beginning for our students,” Boedicker says. “They will apply and submit their ideas to a committee. There is value in hearing from various voices in an entire class.”
Boedicker assures that all the mishaps will be resolved by 2021, when the Latin honor system becomes official.
“Everything will be ironed out when the time comes,” he says.
With the Latin honor system, it is anticipated that the student body collectively feels more recognized for academic achievements, even if they are not number one in the class.
“We really just want to develop passion in our students, not just GPA’s,” Boedicker says.