Transition to cum laude system draws accusations of bullying from student

Jaylynn Andrews
Staff Writer

Student JoLynn Hockemeyer spoke before the North Adams Community Schools’ Board of Education at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, reading from a prepared speech. The issue at hand was the school’s recent decision to transition from a valedictorian/salutatorian system to a summa cum laude/magna cum laude system, which would recognize all students graduating with honors, regardless of minute distinctions in grade point average. To graduate summa cum laude, a student must have a GPA between 3.9-4.5.
Hockemeyer labeled this decision “unfair” and compared it to being called “dishonest” or a “cheater.” In opening, she drew the board’s attention to the state wrestling wall and asked them whether they would like to see it torn down; this, she said, is more or less equivalent to recognizing valedictorian and salutatorian as summa cum laude instead.
“Last I checked, it took four years to get here,” Hockemeyer said, referring to her rank in the top five students of Bellmont.

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