GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (KDVR) — The Cherry Creek School District will stop recognizing valedictorians at their high schools starting with the class of 2026.
Valedictorians are typically students with the highest grade-point average at graduation.
In a letter to families, the district said it found inconsistencies among its high schools in the number of valedictorians and the qualifications.
The letter also said in part, “The practices of class rank and Valedictorian status are outdated and inconsistent with what we know and believe of our students. We believe all students can learn at high levels, and learning is not a competition.”
District parents had mixed reactions.
“Taking this away is not going to fix the problem,” said Kristen Stone, a district parent.
“It’s not going to fix the stress that we are seeing for other students, plus it’s taking away from those who want to work towards it,” Stone said.
She believes kids need to learn to tolerate failure and keep pushing ahead.
But the vice chancellor for enrollment at the University of Denver said this is a growing trend that he supports.
“Nationally, class rank has been almost eliminated,” Todd Rinehart said.
He pointed out that when students apply to colleges in the fall or winter of senior year, they do not yet know if they will be valedictorians at graduation.
“We’ve never used that in our admission review because the information has never been available,” he said.
Rinehart, who is a Cherry Creek parent himself, said a class rank system can negatively affect a student’s choice in classes and adds to the growing pressure that high schoolers are experiencing.
“There have been so many stress points for high school students. If we can relieve one of those, I think that’s a good thing, especially when admission committees weren’t using it to begin with,” he said.