MASON, Ohio (CNN Newsource) – A high school in Mason, Ohio announced Thursday that it is eliminating the valedictorian and salutatorian recognition.
School officials say they hope the change will help improve students’ mental wellness but not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.
“Definitely a lot of pressure that I put on myself that wasn’t from my parents or teachers,” Samantha Segerman said.
Active in marching band, she graduated from Mason High School two years ago.
“It was me wanting to do the best I could, as much as I could to try to impress colleges,” Samantha said.
She graduated with above a 4.0 GPA.
“I know I wasn’t in the top 10%.”
When she found out her alma mater was doing away with what matters to so many, she was stunned.
“That’s so surprising to me. For nothing else, these kids have worked since their freshman year. Some in eighth grade,” she said.
Samantha’s brother is a junior at Mason High.
Sue Segerman, their mom, worries for some students in her son’s class. All of their hard work will be for nothing.
“That will upset, I think, some of the junior class right now. If they’ve been working hard, pushing hard as a goal and that gets pulled out under your feet, that sort of stinks for the junior class right now,” Sue said.
Taking away the recognition, along with a GPA change, is a move the district hopes will improve students’ mental wellness. It’s moving from a four-point weighted credit scale to a five-point scale.
Some are worried it could have a negative impact, taking away drive and motivation.
“Almost unmotivate people, I guess, because there’s not something to work toward to be that person,” Samantha said.
Students at Mason High will continue to be recognized using the Latin honors system, with students earning a 4.0 GPA or above as Summa Cum Laude. These changes will go into effect next school year.