Editorial: Cabrini believes education is more than just a number

By Laura Hancq
April 27, 2011

Cabrini College is a unique school and community for a number of well-known reasons such as the social justice curriculum, small class sizes and partnerships with organization such as the Philadelphia Phillies. A lesser-known distinctive characteristic of Cabrini is the valedictorian-selection process.

In light of the approaching commencement ceremony for the Class of 2011 and the news article profiling the recently selected valedictorian, English and secondary education major Stephanie Iaccarino, the Loquitur believes Cabrini has the right idea about how to choose the most distinguished student speaking position.

At most colleges and universities, the student with the overall highest GPA is automatically selected as the valedictorian. Cabrini, however, selects a number of students with the highest GPAs and asks them to submit their potential speeches to a board of faculty members for review. From there, the best speech is chosen, so it is possible that the selected speaker will not have the highest ovaverage of the class.

While this may outrage some students, the Loquitur believes the valedictorian should be chosen by two criteria — intelligence and hard work as evidenced by high grades and also by the ability to deliver a speech. Just because a student has the best GPA does not mean he or she is automatically the best candidate for the job.

Cabrini also takes into consideration the involvement of the student and the impact they have made on the Cabrini community. For example, in addition to her solid GPA, Iaccarino was heavily involved outside the classroom in activities such as chorus, theater and being a student ambassador.

The Loquitur believes that if a student wants to be valedictorian, they need to exemplify Cabrini’s motto of “doing something extraordinary,” inside the classroom and out. To receive this honor from Cabrini, the student needs to have given back to the community and should be representative of the great accomplishments and contributions of the class over four years.

As all of us students know, GPAs are a tricky business. We all know what it feels like to try and figure out how they are going to be weighted based on credits and honors. Is the right person for the role of valedictorian the person who got the 3.98 or the 3.97?

Having the students submit speeches seems like a great way to differentiate between almost identical GPAs, as well as a great way to keep with Cabrini’s core beliefs of contributing to the community and making a difference, because it makes sure the top students have an equal chance and the ceremony is going to be the best it possibly can.

The Loquitur believes that a fiercer competition only brings about better results. If a student wants the honor, they are going to just have to work harder to get the best GPA and to write the best possible speech. Yes, maybe the student who had a .01 better average might be angry, but ultimately, everyone attending the ceremony will be thankful that the best speech was chosen.

The valedictorian’s speech should be reflective of the journey of the past four years of the class as well as words of encouragement for the future. The speech is also for all the members of the community who have journeyed with the students, as well as families and friends. All of these people deserve their final memory of Cabrini to be positive and special.

While many students may keep their eye on the prize of being valedictorian as motivation to do well in college, hardly any student would come in as a freshman and work themselves to the bone consistently for eight semesters just to be valedictorian and then proceed to not write the best speech. Therefore, despite some opinions of students, the Loquitur believes Cabrini does not do this to crush anyone’s dreams but to ensure for a great ceremony for all by having Cabrini’s best and brightest compete for this final top honor.

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Laura Hancq

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