Henry Cenicola, 72, is the oldest valedictorian in PCCC’s 50-year historical past. Cenicola graduated with an AAS diploma in Culinary Arts on Might 23, 2019.
Amy Newman, NorthJersey

There has not been a valedictorian at Mahwah Excessive College in practically 20 years.

The varsity scrapped the honorific in favor of the Satisfaction and Spirit Award, an honor that acknowledges the highest two graduating college students not by their GPA however their management, service and enthusiasm.

An growing variety of excessive faculties across the nation have bucked the custom of naming a valedictorian or rating graduating college students.“The pattern is class rank is just going the best way of the dinosaur,” mentioned David Hawkins, government director for instructional content material and coverage on the Nationwide Affiliation for Faculty Admission Counseling. “It’s not fully extinct but, nevertheless it doesn’t appear more likely to surge.”

In New Jersey, valedictorians abound however class rankings have change into considerably much less widespread. Ocean Metropolis Excessive College is graduating its first-class with out rank on Monday. Vineland voted to remove class rank starting with the category of 2020.

Janet Bamford, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey College Boards Affiliation, mentioned many of the districts which have repealed class rank look like in southern New Jersey however the pattern is widespread.

The explanations behind it are usually the identical: the distinction between the grade level averages of scholars might be so minuscule that it renders the rating meaningless, the competitors for rank can drive up scholar stress and the tendency to award extra weight to honors and Superior Placement lessons can discourage college students from enrolling in electives resembling artwork or music, she mentioned.

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Some faculties additionally acknowledge environmental elements resembling household revenue and parental stage of schooling can have an effect on scholar efficiency, mentioned Hawkins.

“Many educators and directors are viewing zero-sum competitors – choosing only one scholar or making an attempt to stack college students on high of one another – as not a extremely educationally acceptable solution to acknowledge excessive achievement,” he mentioned.

Pascack Hills Excessive College eradicated class rankings in 2005 although it nonetheless selects a valedictorian and salutatorian as a part of a longstanding custom, mentioned Principal Glenn deMarrais.

“We determined that we didn’t need educational achievement to be a contest,” he mentioned. “Something that we are able to do that may positively influence the tradition and local weather of wellness, we expect is an effective factor. We predict it’s in one of the best curiosity of our youngsters.”

Jeff Gant, director of undergraduate admissions at Montclair State College, seen a steep drop within the variety of excessive faculties reporting class rank during the last decade. Solely about 40 p.c of submitted transcripts now embody the quantity.

Montclair State College prefers to have class rankings as a result of they supply extra context and are utilized by faculty rating companies, together with U.S. Information & World Report, he mentioned, however the faculty has adjusted its admissions course of to replicate excessive faculties’ altering insurance policies.

“It’s not essentially a problematic challenge in admissions, it’s simply that it forces establishments to seek out different equitable standards on which to guage candidate for admission,” Gant mentioned. “Our admission processes have tailored to developments, like reporting class rank on transcripts, and located different efficiency indicators and elements.”

Rutgers College – New Brunswick stopped rank consideration for admissions a number of years in the past as a result of massive variety of excessive faculties that don’t use it, mentioned Neal Buccino, a spokesman for the varsity.

“We contemplate particular person grades in every educational course and general cumulative grade level common for every applicant,” he wrote in a press release. “We additionally search to know the diploma to which college students problem themselves within the context of the highschool’s curriculum.”

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