Ohio High School Stops Handing Out Valedictorian Award To Improve Mental Health Of Students
A high school in Ohio has just made the controversial decision to stop handing out awards for valedictorian and salutatorian in an attempt to stop “competitive culture.”
Mason High School in Cincinnati has stood by his decision to do away with these honors, with administrators saying that they are hoping that leveling the playing field will improve the mental health of students.
“We gathered feedback about the current culture at MHS and the impact it is having on students’ mental well-being,” the school said in a statement. “A large part of these discussions included the highly competitive culture, and the impact student course loads have on stress and anxiety levels. We have researched the reason why students take a large number of AP courses. While there are some students who take a large number of course because of their general interest in the subject area, there is a disturbingly large number of students who take AP courses to increase their grade point average.”
The decision was made by Principal Bobby Dodd, who found it “disturbing” that students were so stressed about improving their grade point average. He is hoping that eliminating valedictorian honors will make learning more fun for students.
“This will help reduce the overall competitive culture at MHS to allow students to focus on exploring learning opportunities that are of interest to them,” he said.
Jonathan Cooper, the superintendent of the school, said that a spike in teenage suicides in the area also played a role in the decision.
“As our community looked at some unhealthy patterns the rise in anxiety and depression and suicide,” he explained. “It’s the second leading cause of death in youth today across America, so we started to look at what we can do as school leaders to make a change.”
Find out more in the video below.