New Latin graduating honors system implemented

System to go into effect for Class of 2021

by Toby Bradshaw, Emma Kress, Andrew de las Alas and Caitlin O’Connor, Reporters

The graduating Class of 2016 had 16 valedictorians. However, one senior was missing from the list. According to Principal Mr. Dave Worland, in that student’s freshman year, the senior received a B+ in AP World History, but achieved A’s in all his other classes for the next three years.

Despite that, the student missed out on receiving an award that specifically honored his academic achievements.

Five years ago, college counselor Ms. Kathy Pivonka suggested that the senior recognition should be changed from valedictorians and salutatorians to the Latin honor system.

Four years later, Principal Mr. Dave Worland announced that the Latin honor system will replace valedictorians and salutatorians.

The system will be the new way to recognize students for their academic achievements. Worland said, “It is a transition from our traditional valedictorian and salutatorian.” The three tiers of the Latin honors system, starting with the highest recognition, are summa cum laude: “with highest praise,” magna cum laude: “with great honor” and cum laude: “with great honor.”

This new system will go into effect with the Class of 2021, meaning sophomores, juniors and seniors will still have valedictorians and salutatorians. With the new system, the top five percent (14 to 15 students) of the class will be named summa cum laude, the next five percent magna cum laude, and the next five percent cum laude.

According to Worland, the new system will be based entirely on academics and what percentage of the class rank the student falls into. Requirements include having been here for five semesters, taking the highest level of each course and enrolling in four years of the core classes. Seventh semester GPAs are calculated, and students are eligible for recognition based on this.

The school decided to change the way it recognizes high academic achievers partly because the cum laude system is more practical and popular among colleges, including other holy cross schools, like Notre Dame, used as models.

Greater valedictorian count has also influenced the change. There have been as many as 17 valedictorians.

Worland said, “Over the last eight years there have been more and more valedictorians. However, valedictorian means ‘1’ and salutatorian means ‘2’ which is counterintuitive and lessens the value of the title.” The administration stopped naming salutatorians in favor of more valedictorians.

Worland said, “It is one more way Cathedral can recognize high academic achievers. (However) if you are behaving in the way that puts Cathedral’s integrity at jeopardy, than you will be removed from competition of the cum laude system.”

Receiving a detention for chewing gum or being out of uniform will not disqualify a student, but drinking, cheating or abusing drugs will.

The administration hopes this new system will highlight student’s talents in a fair and respectful way.