The valedictorian is the senior who is selected as the class’s representative of the highest academic achievement. While a student’s GPA is often the deciding factor in naming a valedictorian, other factors, such as participation in extracurricular activities and leadership positions, may also be considered. The valedictorian, from the Anglo-Latin vale dicere, is the last speaker at a graduation ceremony before the students get their diplomas. At graduation ceremonies, the speaker gives a farewell address known as a valedictory address or valediction.
Although the term valedictorian is commonly used in the United States, it is rarely used in other countries. In Australia, the greatest GPA is not a requirement for valedictorian. The highest student, may or may not give an address at graduation ceremonies. Commencement exercises are not common in France. Hence, the French term for “high school graduation” is “Major de promotion.”
Institutional award criteria may include but are not limited to, a student’s GPA, the difficulty of their chosen academic major, a popular vote of faculty and staff, the student’s involvement in and dedication to extracurriculars, and the student’s capacity to efficiently communicate in front of an audience. In some institutions, students vote for a candidate to occupy the role, whereas, in others, the individual is appointed based on qualifications. Schools sometimes name numerous students valedictorians instead of one person. If there is a statistical tie in GPA, this could be required for Latin honors.