Twice as many grads set to earn top distinction this year

Rachel Crane

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Graphic by Geneva Douma/The Foothill Dragon Press

Graphic by Geneva Douma/The Foothill Dragon Press

This year 19 graduating seniors received one of Foothill’s highest academic achievements, which represents an increase of 126% from last year’s eight students.

These students were able to successfully maintain an exceptionally high grade point average, over a 4.4, and have earned the right to be recognized by the phrase summa cum laude.

Magna and summa cum laude are Latin honors at Foothill based solely off of a graduating student’s GPA. In order to sit magna cum laude at graduation, a student must have a cumulative GPA between 4.0 and 4.39.

This is Foothill’s second year awarding these distinctions.

According to Foothill counselor Steven Boyd, the reason for this spike may be simply because, “This year’s graduating class is really, really strong.”

Senior Brent Ocker agreed. “This year, there’s just a lot more potential in terms of people,” he said. “We don’t have the GPAs of last year, but we’re really close, and we have a lot more people up there.”

The number of students taking AP courses and exams this year is also higher than ever before, with 216 AP exams ordered for May. Seventy-five  additional students signed up compared to last year.

However, this rising number could be put into jeopardy due to the strong possibility that some AP classes will be cut from Foothill’s curriculum due to state budget cuts.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be AP classes cut next year; my guess is that there would be a couple,” said Boyd.

The rise in AP, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude students can also be explained by the increasing difficulty of getting into college.

“This is the hardest year to get into college. All the schools that had a ten percent acceptance rate, now have a six or seven percent acceptance rate,” said senior J.T. Love.

Boyd said that as more students become eligible for University of California and California State University enrollment, the overall applicant pool has increased. This year applications to the UCs rose by 6.1 percent.

“We’ve had some of our really top students who didn’t get into the UCs or anywhere else they were pretty sure they would be,” said Boyd.

“With the state budget being as it is,” Boyd continued, “our state school system is taking fewer and fewer students. That’s why there’s a push to take more rigorous courses.”

This places pressure on students to do even more.

“You don’t want to take the chance that someone else took more AP courses than you, or earned a higher GPA,” said sophomore Amanda Torres. “You can’t risk them taking your spot.”

Said Love, “It’s not enough just to be smart, you have to be the smartest now.”

What do you think?