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Valedictorians

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 15, 1997
They may come from various walks of life and have had different experiences, but they share one thing: They are the best and brightest high school graduaes from the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. Schools use a variety of criteria to choose the honorees, which produced up to 30 at some schools. Some, pictured below, share their thoughts as they embark on their journeys into adulthood.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
June 10, 2013 | By Michael McGough
You've probably heard about the South Carolina high school valedictorian who tore up his prepared speech at graduation ceremonies and instead recited the Lord's Prayer, to cheers and applause. But there is a twist in the tale of Roy Costner IV, who has become a poster boy for Christian conservatives. In an interview with the Christian Post, Costner said that he had been warned by school officials to refrain from any prayers or religious references in his remarks. “Let me first say that every person, regardless of their religious affiliation -- whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, or any other belief -- should be allowed to say what they want because of the 1st Amendment,” Costner said.
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NEWS
July 8, 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."
NEWS
July 3, 2012 | By Karin Klein
In an era of grade-grubbing and manipulation of the almighty grade-point average, is there any reasonable way to choose the most outstanding student of a given graduating class? A Los Angeles Times editorial Tuesday suggests that schools either get rid of the valedictorian -- at least as the supposedly top student in the graduating class -- or rethink how to choose students for the honor. The idea isn't to avoid hurting the feelings of other students; rather, it's to solve the problem of the grade-point boost given for AP and honors classes (as well as International Baccalaureate, for those schools advanced enough to have them)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 28, 1994 | MARK SABBATINI, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Parents angry over the elimination of the valedictorian award at Saugus High School are expected to be out in force at the meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District board tonight. The controversy over the top grades award erupted earlier this year when the school held its first graduation without a valedictorian, salutatorian and top-10 student honors. Instead, the school designated anyone with a 3.75 or higher grade point average as an honors student.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 30, 1994 | MARK SABBATINI, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The local debate over high school valedictorians continues, dividing residents into three groups: those who are for honoring the top graduating student at the five area high schools; those who are against it for educational and morale reasons, and those who think the other two groups should get a life and move onto more pressing issues. Given the divergence of opinion, the William S.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 26, 1999 | KAREN ALEXANDER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
As the season of high school graduations begins, many parents will notice a missing element in the ceremonies: the naming of a valedictorian. More schools in Orange County and across the nation are shifting from the practice of honoring the one student with the highest grades and are embracing myriad new ways to recognize student achievement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 8, 1994 | SUSAN BYRNES, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Nothing will stop Birmingham High School valedictorian William Ress from basking in accolades at his high school's upcoming graduation ceremony--not the recovery from four-hour brain surgery, not the daily radiation treatments, not the fear of death. The 17-year-old San Fernando Valley senior has lost most of his hair and much of his energy since January, when doctors found a malignant brain tumor behind his right eye.
OPINION
July 3, 2012
The difference in grade-point average between the valedictorian and the runner-up salutatorian at Eagle Rock High School this year was small but significant - a full five hundredths of a point, the difference between a 4.5 and a 4.55. Yet the parents of the second-ranked student are outraged, writing to top officials and threatening (what else?) a lawsuit. The mother of Stanford-bound Elisha Marquez complains that her daughter's "sleepless nights" of study were "for nothing," and her father characterizes her second-place finish this way: "You don't want your kid to be a loser.
NATIONAL
March 7, 2012 | By Rene Lynch
A Miami high school valedictorian who gained national attention with her fight to avoid deportation back to Colombia has been granted a two-year reprieve by federal authorities who now say that their bigger goal is going after illegal immigrants who are criminals -- and not dutiful students. Daniela Pelaez, and her sister, Dayana, were ordered to leave the country just last week by a federal immigration judge. But U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday issued a statement saying the agency would defer carrying out the court order for at least two years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 23, 2009 | By Tony Barboza
None of them will become valedictorian, but some of the brightest 17- and 18-year-olds in Huntington Beach will be graduating summa cum laude before they ever set foot on a college campus. For years, high schools have been retreating from singling out students as valedictorians and salutatorians to ease the competition and pressure that the quest for the top class rankings can place on teenagers. Some high schools have found a solution in recognizing dozens of valedictorians.
NATIONAL
September 15, 2009 | Maria L. La Ganga and My-Thuan Tran
Annie Le, whose body was found on the day she planned to wed, was mourned Monday by family members and friends from her hometown in the scenic Sierra Nevada foothills as smart and vibrant, kind and funny. The Yale University graduate student of Vietnamese heritage grew up in a remote, hilly area off a twisting, one-lane gravel road with an aunt and uncle she regarded as parents. Her brother remembered her on Facebook as someone who "left this world doing what she loved." "She may be small, but she be fierce," Chris Le wrote of his 24-year-old sister, who was pursuing a degree in pharmacology.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 9, 2009 | Michael Ordona
It's hard to believe that Ferris Bueller's uptight best friend just turned 53. Viewers have been fooled into thinking they've seen the actor who looks like a guy from their suburban neighborhood grow up onscreen, from the nervous teen to the annoying tourist in "Speed"; from Mr.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 30, 2009 | Seema Mehta
Aurora Ponce, the 18-year-old South L.A. valedictorian who was to be barred from giving a speech at graduation because she participated in a student protest over growing class sizes and other concerns, was allowed to speak at the weekend ceremony. The teen, her family and supporters met with officials of the Accelerated School for two hours Friday but the matter remained unresolved, Ponce said. She prepared her speech, and school officials reviewed it Saturday morning before giving her the green light minutes before the ceremony.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 25, 2009 | Seema Mehta
Aurora Ponce is senior class president, boasts a near-perfect A average and is UC-bound with plans to study engineering. But according to the 18-year-old and her supporters, officials at the Accelerated School, a collection of South Los Angeles charter schools, have barred Ponce from making her valedictory speech at Saturday's graduation as punishment for participating in a student sit-in to protest increased class sizes and the elimination of college prep classes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2008 | Jason Song, Times Staff Writer
Perla Guzman didn't want to go to Locke High School after her older brother was beaten up on the way to his fifth period algebra class. She was even more doubtful her freshman year when she discovered a girl passed out in a bathroom stall who had tried to get high by inhaling air freshener. "But then I thought, 'If my brother can go through this, then I can go through it,' " she said. "I can do what he did." In some ways, Guzman may have done even more.
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