Petition settles decision to keep graduation in rank order


photo by Yasmin Haq

Senior Tanya Jagan holds up the petition arguing for rank order in graduation. Jagan gave it to Finch on April 11.

After receiving a petition against the possibility of calling the top 10% of the 2019 graduating class in alphabetical order during graduation, principal Scot Finch decided to keep the policy that has been in place for years, calling the top 10% in rank order.

“I feel great, not just that it’s in our favor, [but] because the administration is responsive and they listened to our concerns,” senior Tanya Jagan, who started the petition, said. “Like Finch said, democracy won. I’m glad that this school actually uses democracy instead of just preaching it.”

The petition was given to Finch on April 11. It included 64 signatures and a letter on the front explaining the reasoning behind wanting to keep the original graduation policy.

“Where you are in top 10% matters,” Jagan said. “Because for people like me who are in the higher top 10%, we could have stopped trying junior year, but we worked hard to get that distinction between rank 11 and rank 89. [We want] to just set ourselves apart on graduation and to get that reward for four years of hard work.”

The issue arose after a senior proposed the change on March 18 to call top 10% in alphabetical order during graduation to Finch. The student argued  students should not be defined by numbers.

“I thought she had some good arguments in her letter to me,” Finch said. “That’s why we were headed that way to do it by alphabet rather than GPA. As far as [rank] 11 through 90, we were just going to go by last name.”

Around April 9, rumors about the change began circulating, and at National Honor Society induction ceremony the same day, some parents expressed their opposition to the potential change to Finch.

“I think the message I got from [parents and students about] all of this is that it means a lot to them to be in the top 10%,” Finch said.

While some seniors agree with the petition, some are against it, mostly due to the tension behind the situation.

“If parents are counting what rank their child is, that’s wrong in the first place,” senior Ashley Sebastian said. “I think it should be alphabetical, because I don’t think your rank matters. I think the fact that you’re graduating or you’re [being] in the top 10%is good enough. Everyone tried hard in high school so it [shouldn’t] matter.”

On April 15, senior Jonathan Joseph sent an email to Finch countering the petitions’ arguments. In the letter, the student said students in charge of the petition allegedly strong-armed students into signing the petition.

“Something has to be done about this because it’s basically a bunch of kids throwing a tantrum,” Joseph said. “That’s not right. I know there are quite a few people in this group that actually feel that they should deserve recognition, and I do believe that they should receive recognition, but going about it in this fashion is not something that should be rewarded.”

For most other seniors, the change doesn’t affect them. Senior Cole Simpson said he sees the good and bad in the arguments for and against the petition.

“I can kinda see why people are getting upset about it but I don’t really thing it’s worth this much drama and effort that [was] being put into it,” Simpson said.