To the editor:

Thank you for your article on Wednesday, Oct. 23 which highlighted the interest of Newburyport High School in seeking community input on valedictorian and salutatorian. All residents are encouraged to offer their input at a student-lead meeting at NHS on Tuesday, Nov. 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or through a short online survey which can be accessed at: If seniors are uncomfortable filling out the survey online, they are welcome to complete the survey at the Newburyport Senior Community Center on High Street where technical assistance is available every Monday and Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m.

There is currently a push to award valedictorian and salutatorian based on something other than grade point average (GPA). Grades provide an objective and measurable benchmark for these incredibly important awards. These two titles of honor have been a longstanding Clipper tradition and have always been awarded to the two graduating seniors with the first and second highest GPAs. To award valedictorian and salutatorian based on some new criteria other than grades would be subjective or even worse, reduced to a popularity contest. There are numerous other awards in our school district which celebrate the endless talents and strengths of our students. Let’s celebrate and recognize academic excellence in our school district by continuing to award valedictorian and salutatorian based on GPA. Perhaps a welcome compromise would be NHS adding another student speaker at graduation who could be chosen based on some criteria to be determined by our community. It seems like that could be a true win-win for everyone involved.

Susan and Paul Acquaviva


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