W’boro Validictorian Dispute

In May, Waynesboro High School named Moreko Griggs the graduating class valedictorian. This was noteworthy because it was the first time in the history of the school that black student had been named valedictorian. A few hours before graduation, after objections were raised by parents, there was another first: two more students were named valedictorian, both of them white, and the motives for doing so are fuzzy, at best. Since then, the local press has bubbled over, with the AP having run a story that has appeared nationally today. At the rate that this is snowballing, it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

14 Responses to “W’boro Validictorian Dispute”


  • Just from reading the article in the press, it sounds like discrimination, but I would like to see the algorithm(s) used to determine the valedictorian. Shouldn’t we examine the algorithm and get an explanation from the school before a kid is made the poster child for discrimination?

  • He’s still a valedictorian. He’s still the first black valedictorian. The honor he is receiving is not lessened in any way that I can fathom. His academic achievement is not diminished.

    And yet, "the outrage also caused NAACP national board vice chairwoman Roslyn Brock last month to compare it to an academic "lynching.’"

    If this qualifies as a lynching in today’s America, I can only take that as a sign of monumental progress in civil rights.

  • Imagine if the SCOTUS had, rather than naming Bush president, named both Bush and Gore president. What would be the problem? The honor that they’re receiving is not lessened in any way.

    Or imagine if you showed up on your wedding day to find out that that you were one of two grooms. The honor, of course, would not be lessened in any way.

    Would it?

  • Of course Waldo`s comparisons are based upon exactly the same situational parameters as the case in question, a requisite in any valid analogy.

  • BLAH!

    I heard about some schools all in the name of PC elimating the class valedictorian all together because it offends those kids who can’t get the grade.

    I say F’ PC. If you got the grades white or black, then you should get the honor. Our country is turning into a bunch of wimps because somebody might get offend. Who freakin cares!

  • I understand the point of your analogies, but I guess I’m coming from the perspective of having gone to a high school that had six valedictorians in a class of 70. If all three students at Waynesboro had grades that qualified them for valedictorian status, they should receive the honor — regardless of precedent. It’s not by necessity a there-can-be-only-one type of deal. And I’m loathe to ascribe racism to the actors in this story simply because one of the students is black.

    Now, let’s just make sure that next year, and every year after, Waynesboro High School gives valedictorian status to all qualifying seniors. They’ve changed the standard (making it more equitable, I believe) , and they should stick with the change. In the meantime, this little blip on the civil rights radar is far too trivial to incite serious charges of racism.

  • My comment on Waldo`s analogies was tongue in cheek.

  • Heheh, yeah, I figured that was the case.

  • I’m coming from the perspective of having gone to a high school that had six valedictorians in a class of 70.

    Well, that’s really interesting. I’d always thought that there was just one valedictorian for each class, and that’s what my (cursory) research turned up before writing the blurb for the site. It’s the person that gets the top GPA, and if there’s a tie, a single person is selected. Or, rather, that’s how I understood it.

    Of course, for WHS to change the rules after the fact is pretty lame, but if, ignoring all of the other facts of this, they had legitimately decided to have multiple valedictorians, and that’s a reasonable practice, then I guess it’d be hard to object to that from afar.

  • The Valedictorian is the person who gives the valedictory speech at the graduation ceremony. It is USUALLY the person with the highest GPA.

    Is graduation over? If so, who gave the speech?

    Why don’t the just make EVERYONE valedictorian so nobody feels left out? Everybody is special right?

  • that’s a great lesson to teach your kids. if you can’t win fair and square, change the rules so that you can be the best.

    the two fake valedictorians and their parents should be ashamed of themselves. if those kids had any honor whatsoever, they would have let griggs have the spotlight all to himself, because he’s the only one who actually earned it.

  • So much has been said by people who have limited information. Here are some more facts as published as a letter to the editor of the Waynesboro News Virginian this week:

    "I am the mother of Jordan Coiner, co-valedictorian of Waynesboro High School’s Class of 2004. In light of the limited and mis-information expressed in articles and letters that have been published in this and other papers, I would like to share some information with you.

    When third quarter transcripts came out in late April, they indicated that Jordan was number one in her class. In fact, every transcript Jordan had received in her senior year said she was number one. You can imagine our surprise when valedictorian was announced, and Jordan was instead named co-salutatorian. The last report cards had come out at the end of the third quarter in early April, and teachers had been asked for estimated fourth quarter grades in early May. Some students (including one in the top three) had chosen to take college-level English courses online instead of senior English, and those online grades were not included at all in these estimates. How could a valedictorian be named when a grade for a course required for graduation was not available? It was this question and others that led me to approach the administration to ask how valedictorian is determined, and what I learned is there are no written policies. Those of you claiming that rules were changed need to realize that no rules existed. Valedictorian is based solely on traditions and vague, subjective decisions.

    According to Jordan’s final transcript on June 15, she ended her high school career as number one in her class with a cumulative GPA of 4.406. Apparently, the only time in her senior year she was not considered number one in her class was when those estimated grades were tallied, and valedictorian was announced. Everyone talks about what has been taken away from Moreko Griggs. I ask you to consider: what has been taken from Jordan? And as for that apology everyone thinks Moreko deserves: all three valedictorians were contacted by school board members and invited to individual meetings to discuss the situation and receive an apology. The only one who took advantage of this opportunity was Jordan.

    Yes, I am the parent who “demanded a recount,” but what would you have done in the same situation? I never asked that Jordan receive anything she did not deserve. We had expectations based upon information provided by the school office throughout the year. What if I had accepted the school’s announcement only to find that when final transcripts came out, Jordan was indeed the true number one in her class. With graduation over and done, what recourse would I have had then?

    Nancy Coiner

    Waynesboro, VA"

  • So much has been said by people who have limited information. Here are some more facts as published as a letter to the editor of the Waynesboro News Virginian this week:

    "I am the mother of Jordan Coiner, co-valedictorian of Waynesboro High School’s Class of 2004. In light of the limited and mis-information expressed in articles and letters that have been published in this and other papers, I would like to share some information with you.

    When third quarter transcripts came out in late April, they indicated that Jordan was number one in her class. In fact, every transcript Jordan had received in her senior year said she was number one. You can imagine our surprise when valedictorian was announced, and Jordan was instead named co-salutatorian. The last report cards had come out at the end of the third quarter in early April, and teachers had been asked for estimated fourth quarter grades in early May. Some students (including one in the top three) had chosen to take college-level English courses online instead of senior English, and those online grades were not included at all in these estimates. How could a valedictorian be named when a grade for a course required for graduation was not available? It was this question and others that led me to approach the administration to ask how valedictorian is determined, and what I learned is there are no written policies. Those of you claiming that rules were changed need to realize that no rules existed. Valedictorian is based solely on traditions and vague, subjective decisions.

    According to Jordan’s final transcript on June 15, she ended her high school career as number one in her class with a cumulative GPA of 4.406. Apparently, the only time in her senior year she was not considered number one in her class was when those estimated grades were tallied, and valedictorian was announced. Everyone talks about what has been taken away from Moreko Griggs. I ask you to consider: what has been taken from Jordan? And as for that apology everyone thinks Moreko deserves: all three valedictorians were contacted by school board members and invited to individual meetings to discuss the situation and receive an apology. The only one who took advantage of this opportunity was Jordan.

    Yes, I am the parent who “demanded a recount,” but what would you have done in the same situation? I never asked that Jordan receive anything she did not deserve. We had expectations based upon information provided by the school office throughout the year. What if I had accepted the school’s announcement only to find that when final transcripts came out, Jordan was indeed the true number one in her class. With graduation over and done, what recourse would I have had then?

    Nancy Coiner

    Waynesboro, VA"

  • buncha nerds.

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