Graduation honors changing for upcoming BHS classes

February 14, 2014 

The Belton School District is changing the way they are honoring students at graduation, beginning this year.

“We started looking at this option so we could honor more students for high performance, rather than just the top two students of the graduating class,” said Bob Poisal, Assistant Superintendent Finance and Support Services. “Competition motivates people and this new system will encourage more students to work toward and achieve these honors.”

The new system will replace the traditional Valedictorian and Salutatorian honors with Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude, an honor system commonly seen in colleges. The criteria for the new honors will require students to complete the following:

Cum Laude - Have a cumulative GPA of 3.6-3.9 at the end of eight semesters; earn an ACT score of 22-27 or 1030-1200 on the SAT (students must still take the ACT, although they can use an SAT score to qualify); score at the proficient level on all state assessments; complete two extra-curricular activities; earn 27 credits; and fulfill the college prep requirements. Student Council and approved work programs also will count toward Cum Laude credits.

Magna Cum Laude - Have a cumulative GPA of 4.0-4.19 at the end of eight semesters; earn an ACT score of 28-30 or 1260-1340 on the SAT; score the proficient level on all state assessments; complete two extra-curricular activities; earn 27 credits; and fulfill the college prep requirements. Student Council and approved work programs also will count toward Magna Cum Laude credits.

Summa Cum Laude - Have a cumulative GPA of 4.2 at the end of eight semesters; earn an ACT score of 31 or 1380 or higher on the SAT; score the proficient level on all state assessments; complete four extra-curricular activities; earn 27 credits; and fulfill the college prep requirements. Student Council and approved work programs also will count toward Summa Cum Laude credits.

The changes will completely replace Valedictorian and Salutatorian honors beginning with the Class of 2018. The district will transition into this change through the next four years. Students in the senior classes of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 will have Valedictorian, Salutatorian and the new Cum Laude Honors.

“The new graduation honors system will provide more students with the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work, commitment to excellence, and high performance within a system that is already in place at colleges and universities,” Belton High School Principal Fred Skretta said.

The school district wanted to give ample notice of the change to students and parents before they entered high school. If you have any questions about the new system, please call 816-489-7000.

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