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Was the true valedictorian at Sacred Heart College robbed of the accolades?

Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2023. 2:44 pm CST.

Тhе vіеwѕ ехрrеѕѕеd іn this аrtісlе аrе those оf the author аnd nоt nесеѕѕаrіlу those оf Вrеаkіng Веlіzе Nеwѕ.

Contributed by Jose Luis: Dear Editor, My heart is saddened by what transpired with the selection of this year’s valedictorian. I am appalled by the alleged decision made and I am still in disbelief. This year Sacred Heart College had 5 students who had a GPA of 4.0 for the entire four years. The school decided to resort to the students’ numerical grade to determine only one valedictorian. After the calculations were completed, the student with the highest numeric average was named valedictorian. This student received their graduation letter and was named the school’s valedictorian. Approximately 12 days later, the salutatorian queried one of her grades, and the grade was allegedly changed. I was shocked by this decision, because it contradicts the school’s policies in the Student Handbook, which states that “students have one week to lodge a formal grade appeal”. The grade that was allegedly changed was not even a fourth form grade, but it was the child’s second or third form grade, which was submitted one or two years ago.

I find it so unfair that the school would accommodate this extremely late grade query appeal to decide the school’s valedictorian. Changing of a grade so late has never occurred at Sacred Heart College and this compromises the school’s integrity when it comes to the grading system. Imagine operating an institution where teachers can change grades after graduation results have been published and distributed to parents, so as to decide the outcome of a student’s overall grade. Hence, the valedictorian was selected behind closed doors, where grades were intentionally changed and ended with another student being named the valedictorian. When I consulted with a few teachers, they were all unaware of what transpired and noted that when the issue was presented at a staff meeting, no valid or clear explanation was provided to the teachers. The matter was not properly explained to the teachers and when questions of clarity were asked, they were immediately dismissed.

The school’s policy is clearly outlined in the Student Handbook, where teachers are not allowed to change grades after they have been submitted, yet the school opted to rob a child from being valedictorian by changing the salutatorian’s grade to unfairly award that student the valedictory award. The Student Handbook clearly states that students have only one week after grades are finalized to submit an appeal.

My heart aches even more when I found out that the child who should have been the actual valedictorian is from a humble family, and I am of the opinion that they were unfairly taken advantage of. Take a minute to imagine if you were in this child’s position, where you were already informed that you were the valedictorian, after which you were informed that a grade was changed for another student, who will now become the valedictorian. The entire process and thought are beyond reprehensible.
Sacred Heart College must do better as an institution if it wants to remain one of the top secondary institutions in the country. The culture of nepotism and alleged favoritism at the school must be addressed. And the culture of the Board of Governors to close their eyes to the concerns of staff and students, and to defend the institution at all cost, even if it is at the expense of being fair and making good decisions.

With that said, Karin Guerrero who could have been the real valedictorian is a very smart young woman and deserved the accolades. Being initially named SHC’s valedictorian is a success story in itself, a grand success story. Congratulations. You worked hard and surely deserved the award. The level of humility and character you demonstrated during this turn of events are beyond admirable.

Much respect also goes out to 16-year-old Davina Sosa who ended up being the valedictorian and in her own right deserved the accolades as well. Sosa was valedictorian four years ago when she graduated from Santa Elena Primary School and she did it again. Congratulations are in order for this young and bright individual that has a promising future ahead of her.

 

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