Transition to cum laude system draws accusations of bullying from student

By: 
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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