Off-campus valedictorian

This year’s valedictorian at Etowah High School in Georgia never has attended the school. Kelly McCahill is on the class list at Etowah but attends the University of West Georgia as a dual-enrollment student. Her college grades count for more points than the straight A’s earned by Sydney Perlotto, who’s ranked first in her class since ninth grade.

At Etowah, Perlotto’s classmates have aired their protests on a Facebook page they’ve labeled “Team Sydney.” They’ve also circulated a petition, asking that county policy declare the school’s valedictorian and salutatorian be required to attend the school for some period between their freshman and senior years.

That does seem fair. McCahill’s enrollment isn’t really dual: She’s a full-time, residential student at UWG with only a nominal link to Etowah High.

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  1. In the know says:

    It may not “seem fair” to you but if you had knowledge of the entire situation you may feel differently. First, Kelly’s class rank and GPA are not public knowledge and a student is not “chosen” or “named” as valedictorian. The student who achieves the highest GPA earns the title. It has nothing to do with school spirit. Etowah high school let Kelly’s GPA and class rank “leak out”, breaching Kelly’s privacy and ultimately bringing scathing facebook messages and remarks, much unwanted media attention and a great deal of stress. Why should a 17 year old girl who has worked extemely hard to achieve academic success become the target of so much hatred? She is home on weekends and summers and must be around all of the students petitioning against her. The same students who claim they do not know her even though she attended 8 years of public school with them. Kelly certainly did not scheme a way to beat Perlotto. That is a ridiculous theme being incinuated throughout many articles on this matter.

  2. Dual enrollment says:

    Do you know what dual enrollment is? It is required to do post secondary education while still being a high school undergraduate. The dual part means that you are enrolled in 2 places. That can still occur when a person spends 100% of their time at one place. Spending physical time at a school is not what defines being enrolled in a school.

  3. Public school. That means the class ranked roster is published to all seniors and the community. And of course it means something; service academy appointments, entrance into state universities, scholarships are all determined in some way by class ranks.

    So what if she attended K-8 with them. She’s effectively gamed the system. It doesn’t matter if it’s unintentional, it still is frustrating to the number 2 or 3 who probably worked just as hard.

    Look, the problem here is you have a bright kid whose parents can afford to send her to college. I did the same with my daughter.

    But I changed her status to “home schooled” when she departed for the college.

  4. Actually, this whole thing is stupid (reminds me of the Blair Hornstein issue a few years ago) where Blair won the battle of the lawsuit, but lost the war when she didn’t attend graduation, and lost admission to Harvard when it was determined she had plagarized articles during high school.

    Once you leave high school and start in the world of work or are accepted to (whatever), I can tell you that no one really cares what your high school GPA is or was (I’ve never been asked for mine in 29 years of work), and the only mention of my high school on a resume is the fact that I graduated from it.

  5. I did get asked a couple of times, which shocked me. But, only when I was young.

  6. Cranberry says:

    According to the article, she did not attend K-8 in Etowah:

    “McCahill attended other public schools in Cherokee County, but not Etowah, her mother said. She lives on campus at West Georgia, although she’s enrolled at the Woodstock high school. She’s felt a backlash since she was identified as the newly installed valedictorian.”

    I don’t think this girl should be declared valedictorian. She has never been graded by the same set of teachers. There should be no comparison because there is no point of contact with the high school, other than a pro-forma enrollment.