Some Colorado parents were upset to learn that their school district plans to eliminate valedictorian awards.
According to local station FOX 31 Denver KDVR, the Cherry Creek School District in Colorado recently wrote a letter telling parents that class rank no longer coincides with the district’s values. Beginning 2026, valedictorian rankings will be gone.
“The practices of class rank and Valedictorian status are outdated and inconsistent with what we know and believe of our students,” the letter said. “We believe all students can learn at high levels, and learning is not a competition.”
The letter claimed the district consulted several colleges and universities before making its decision. The district learned that students’ chances of getting accepted into a college or university would not be harmed by eliminating class rank.
Todd Rinehart, vice chancellor of admissions at the University of Denver, weighed in on the value of class rank before the district decided to do away with it.
“Nationally, class rank has been almost eliminated,” Rinehart explained.
Rinehart noted that class rank can be a misleading metric. When students apply for college in the fall or winter, they do not yet know if they earned the valedictorian ranking, he said. In other words, colleges cannot use that information as part of their application process.
Rinehart, who also happens to be a parent in Cherry Creek, believes high school is stressful enough without the added pressure of class rank.
“There have been so many stress points for high school students. If we can relieve one of those, I think that’s a good thing, especially when admission committees weren’t using it to begin with,” he shared.
However, other parents don’t hold the same sentiment as Rinehart.
“Taking this away is not going to fix the problem,” said one parent from the district, Kristen Stone. She thinks students should learn to deal with failure and discover how to persevere through difficult times.
“It’s not going to fix the stress that we are seeing for other students, plus it’s taking away from those who want to work towards it,” Stone added.
“I’m kind of shocked because we’ve always [had] class ranking,” said another parent in the district, Tiffany. “There are kids that put in a little more effort…take on a little more workload, and I don’t see anything wrong with giving them a little extra recognition.”
Tiffany’s daughter’s class will graduate the year that the change goes into effect—the first graduating class without a valedictorian.
“I don’t understand why they’re taking that away from these hard working kids,” Tiffany went on. “We’ve always instilled in our child that you do your best and when you do your best, you get rewarded.”
Cherry Creek Schools say they will still recognize academic excellence through honor roll, graduation cords, and other awards.
Other Colorado districts have already done away with the valedictorian designation. The Boulder Valley School District got rid of the title in 2007, and the Colorado Springs School District 11 did away with it for the graduating class of 2018.
What do you think about class rank? Should other schools eliminate the title of valedictorian?
I believe this is just another sad example of dumbing down our students and taking away any incentive to pursue excellence! It’s punishing those who work hard so that others don’t get get their “feelings hurt”. It’s stupid, ignorant and destructive to our society!