A Mississippi high school was blasted on social media after word got out on the two sets of students claiming the valedictorian and salutatorian titles.
On May 24 Ikeria Washington and Layla Temple were named the valedictorian and salutatorian of West Point Consolidated School District, according to BNC TV. However, shortly after the two Black female students were set to be awarded for their academic achievements, the school decided to change its ranking and recognize both with the highest Quality Point Average (QPA) and Grade Point Average (GPA).
While Washington and Temple have the two highest QPAs in the graduating class, two other White students had the highest GPAs, resulting in four students being recognized by the school as valedictorian and salutatorian.
A Mississippi HS had two black female students as their valedictorian and salutatorian.
Then suddenly, hours before the graduation, they announced two additional students were ALSO the valedictorian and salutatorian for a total of four. The school has deleted their social media pic.twitter.com/CkAKQ5nKjL
— chris evans (@chris_notcapn) June 1, 2021
“The two students with the highest QPA are Ikeria Washington and Layla Temple. The students with the highest GPA are Dominic Borgioli and Emma Berry,” the school reportedly wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “The WPCSD feels it necessary to recognize four seniors at graduation,” IT added.
But after one Black alumna took the issue to Twitter, the school went viral for what many are deeming as a race-filled decision.
“So my high school had a [B]lack valedictorian and Salutatorian AND THEY WERE FEMALES !! and now since a [W]hite person was mad about it,” she wrote. “They decide to call the girls back and let them know that it will now be two valedictorians and salutatorians. This is wrong!”
So my high school had a black valedictorian and salutatorian AND THEY WERE FEMALES and now since a white person was mad about it. They decide to call the girls back and let them know that it will now be two valedictorians and salutatorians. This is wrong!
— KE (@KierraMarcia) May 27, 2021
The school responded to the backlash in a statement to WCBI News on May 27 in which it cited page 10 of its handbook.
“There are two methods to determine a student’s class rank. The first is Quality Point Average, or QPA. The second is Grade Point Average, or GPA,” the school wrote before naming the two sets of valedictorian and salutatorian. “The two students with the highest GPA are Dominic Borgioli and Emma Berry. The WPCSD feels it necessary to recognize all four seniors at graduation.”
It went on to accept “full responsibility for this misunderstanding” while apologizing for “any confusion and problems this has caused.”