End of an era: Valedictorian and Salutatorian to be replaced by Hometown Hero award


Kaelyn Savard

The honors of valedictorian and salutatorian will be discontinued following the class of 2023, due to the fact that students who arrive to the school in later years, or who participate in particular programs on campus, face a disadvantage of being unable to meet the necessary criteria for the awards.

Melanie Hernandez, Reporter

Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) has held valedictorian and salutatorian awards for graduating seniors since 2000, the school’s origination. These awards, along with others given to the senior class, honors students for their academic accomplishments and recognizes their hard work throughout their four years at Foothill Tech.

The way that these senior awards will recognize their graduating class is set to change for the class of 2024 and those that follow. The awards for valedictorian and salutatorian will be eliminated after the class of 2023.

Despite the changes, Dragon Hall of Fame awards and students that achieve Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude will continue to be recognized. 

Vice Principal Katie Tedford explains that the reason for the discontinuation of these awards is that, “the criteria for valedictorian and salutatorian gave a distinct advantage to students who participated in certain programs,” such as the Bioscience Academy.

Tedford continues that, “it was almost impossible to be a valedictorian or salutatorian if you weren’t in the certain tracks and this meant we were giving certain people advantages, so by removing that criteria it left us with Magna and Summa which allowed for a much more fair chance for students to get.”

Furthermore, a new award has been added to all high schools in the Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified), titled the Hometown Hero award. The new award is named Hometown Hero. This award will be given to only one student from the graduating class at each high school. The awardee is chosen by Principal Russel Gibbs.

When asked to explain the award, Gibbs explained that the award, “is a chance to recognize someone who really cares about their community and who gives back to their community as well. But more importantly, who is more selfless than your average human being.” 

“The local chamber of commerce was looking to award a hometown hero award, we questioned exactly who serves their community and embodies being a great example,”explains Gibbs.

Gibbs goes on to describe that the award, “represents being a great classmate and working hard in your classes but most importantly participating.”

This new award will recognize a student in the graduating class of 2022 and beyond.

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