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Insight Into Choosing of Valedictorians

July 08, 2001

As the former college counselor at North Hollywood High School and the individual who held that position when the selection policy for valedictorian(s) was determined, I would like to respond to "Hail and Farewell to Valedictorians" (June 24).

Prior to the LAUSD adopting a weighted grade-point average, or GPA, our valedictorians were always our straight-A students. After the weighted-GPA policy was enacted, we chose to continue honoring perfection. We have students in programs with some curricular options that might help a student gain a higher weighted GPA.

In fairness, we decided all individuals who achieved perfection in every class would be honored as valedictorians rather than students who might rank mathematically higher due to one or more "bonused Bs."

In enacting this policy, we were attempting to dissuade a student from manipulating a mathematical formula to achieve high ranking. Such a practice is obvious to the most selective colleges, which often choose a more interesting, focused student with a lower class ranking over a student with an obviously padded transcript.

SUSAN BONOFF

Director, Project Steps, a Gear Up Program

North Hollywood High School

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I found this article nostalgic and a bit saddening.

When I was graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1968, valedictory addresses were given only by the person or persons with the highest grade-point average in the class. I worked very hard for three years toward that goal, and I was privileged to share the podium with two friends, Larry Lang and Kris Falde, all three of us having achieved a 4.0 grade-point average.

It meant a lot to me then, and it means a lot to me now. But I suppose that is a remnant of the "elitism" that is passing from current educational favor.

DAVID R. GINSBURG

Los Angeles

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