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Nine valedictorians to share DHS commencement stage Saturday

John H. Croessman
Posted on 5/23/2014, 9:00 AM

Nine Du Quoin High School graduating seniors will take the stage at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds Saturday as class valedictorians with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

It is the first time in DTHS or DHS history that has happened.

They will be announced at Saturday’s high school commencement.

“It is one thing that we have nine valedictorians,” said Dist. 300 Supt. Dr. Gary Kelly late Thursday. “But, this class also has 19 Illinois State Scholars in it. A fourth of this class scored higher than 24 on their ACT and five scored above 30,” he said.

Dr. Kelly complimented DHS principal Matt Hickam on working with the nine to come up with collective valedictory remarks during the 6:30 p.m. ceremony.

“Academically, this is one of the best classes we have had in years,” explained Eric Kirkpatrick of the Du Quoin Guidance Department.

Furthermore, all of these valedictory candidates have to have been enrolled in the college-bound honors program that includes four years of math, an extra year of science, two years of a foreign language and some vocational and cultural classes like art and music.

The valedictorian distinguishes herself or himself from the rest by having the highest grade point average (GPA) in the class by the end of the senior year.

Typically, there are only one or two valedictorians and having three or four is extremely rare.

But, the situation also begs the question: Should a fourth year calculus class or advanced chemistry be worth more than a music class or an art class. That is called “weighting” the classes.

The short answer appears to be “yes” and that will be addressed beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. A student’s three-year record will be grandfathered in, but starting next year five classes will be worth more.

The weighted classes will be calculus, chemistry II, English IV, practical law (a new class) and physics.

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