The AJC has a fascinating story tonight about the awarding of the valedictorian title to a Cherokee County high school to a student who is already in college but is dual enrolled at Etowah High School.
There is apparently some anger being directed at Kelly McCahill, who attends the University of West Georgia through a dual enrollment program at Etowah and earned the No. 1 slot, although I am not sure why. She didn’t determine the policy that weights college credits higher. Or the policy that apparently treats her as a student at Etowah, although she’s never attended the high school.
Couldn’t they just name two valedictorians? I read about a California high school that had 58 valedictorians and a Washington state school that had 38. I understand the policies might prevent this but could there be an exception for these extraordinary circumstances?
Here is an excerpt of the news story:
McCahill took the No. 1 ranking — and hence the title of valedictorian — from Sydney Perlotto, an Etowah student who has been tops in her class since the ninth grade.
This sparked an outcry over how the grade-point averages are calculated for students who are dually enrolled in the county’s high school and college programs.
At Etowah, Perlotto’s classmates have aired their protests on a Facebook page they’ve labeled “Team Sydney.” They’ve also circulated a petition, asking that county policy declare the school’s valedictorian and salutatorian be required to attend the school for some period between their freshman and senior years.
On Thursday night, the Cherokee County school board discussed a possible policy change to lessen the chances that students enrolled in college courses have an advantage over students taking advanced placement classes. Another board discussion will be held in March, followed by a vote.
“The real problem here is that colleges refuse to give number grades and that hamstrings the school system,” said Superintendent Frank R. Petruzielo, adding that the current policy has been in place for 10 years and this is the first inequity issue raised.
Mark Perlotto, Sydney’s father, said the school system is sending the wrong message.
“They’re saying the way to be an outstanding student, which is the definition of the valedictorian, is to never attend class there, never take any instruction there and never set foot on campus for any of the activities,” he said.
McCahill attended other public schools in Cherokee County, but not Etowah, her mother said. She lives on campus at West Georgia, although she’s enrolled at the Woodstock high school. She’s felt a backlash since she was identified as the newly installed valedictorian.
“People are really angry at me,” she said.
McCahill has been warned that dead animals might turn up at her door and her boyfriend’s brother has been pulled out of class at Etowah and yelled at over what’s happened, she said.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog