THS using new criteria to choose valedictorian
Tonganoxie High School will take a break from recent tradition at Saturday night's graduation ceremony.
Last year, six graduates were THS valedictorians. But THS principal Mike Bogart said this year the list will be much shorter.
On Friday, after grades have been turned in, one THS senior will be named valedictorian and one will be named salutatorian.
"I think it was probably the community's and the board's perception that the honor has diminished because we have so many," Bogart said. "Therefore, we talked for about a year to determine how we would single out the very highest performer."
The first criterion, Bogart said, is the grade-point average, taken from grades 9-12. And the second is the ACT score.
"So, that makes that test pretty important to them," Bogart said. "Not only in regard to college, but also if they want to be valedictorian."
Last year's average ACT score was 19.8.
"That was a very disappointing situation," Bogart said. The year before, in 2000, the seniors' average ACT score was 21.6. Although he has not yet received an official tally of this year's average ACT score, Bogart said he thinks there will be an increase.
"We should be able to get up there to 21.5, and we want to get up there to 22."
Bogart said he has heard little feedback about downsizing the number of valedictorians.
"It just makes sense," Bogart said. "Several area schools have the same problem. They'll run a half a dozen valedictorians across there and it just doesn't make it as special as it used to be."
Tonganoxie's baccalaureate, sponsored by the Tonganoxie Ministerial Association, will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Tonganoxie Junior High School gymnasium. Paul Coffman, a former Kansas City Chief who also played for the Green Bay Packers, will speak.
Graduation will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the school's athletic field. In case of inclement weather, ceremonies will be moved to the high school gymnasium.
The graduation ceremony at McLouth High School will be at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Gold Gym of the high school.
Co-valedictorians are Sherri Braksick, Katrina Cook and Tanisha Trackwell.
In Basehor, the Basehor-Linwood High School Class of 2002 will graduate at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the high school gym. Co-valedictorians are Jacob Hills and Michael Collins.
McLouth and Basehor-Linwood held baccalaureate services at an earlier date.