Posted by Dean Dyer | Oct 28, 2016 | Area News | 15 |
White County High Senior Blake Underwood speaking to White County Board of Education
White County Senior Liam Gedney speaking to White County Board of Education
(Cleveland)- A request to change in the way White County High School selects their Valedictorian and Salutatorian has high school students and parents speaking out. Several of them attended the White County Board of Education Thursday night.
The current policy says the student must attend White County High School. The request for a change has been made by a student participating in the “Move On When Ready” education program, which is a dual enrollment program that allows high school students (9th – 12th grade) to earn college credit while working on their high school diploma.
The student identified as Christie Taylor, has participated in the move on program and has not attended classes at the high school. Now Taylor along with her parents are asking that she be named the Valedictorian for the 2017 senior class.
The policy change request doesn’t sit well with Senior Blake Underwood, who has attended White County High since 9th grade and is inline to be the Valedictorian. Underwood, her father along with Senior Liam Gedney, who is inline to be the Salutatorian, and his mother voiced their opposition to any change in the process to the board.
Underwood told the board she has stuck by the rules, “ I’ve worked from the moment I entered White County High School to be Valedictorian, said Underwood, “ I’ve given back to the school” Taylor nor her parents spoke during the board meeting.
White County Board of Education Chair, Kendyl Brock- Hunter said after the meeting, “ We are working very hard to make it work for both sides and this is something that ultimately will need to be a policy change I believe, because we are changing, we’re changing the model of school, we’re not the traditional in house school.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeff Wilson said, it is something that will need to be addressed in the next couple of months.
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RJ O'Brienon October 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm
Blake and Liam entered high school with intentions of being either valedictorian or salutatorian. They opted out of full time college dual enrollment as it was not not recommended as a route to their ultimate goals. The valedictorian/salutatorian rules/guidelines in place when they entered high school – to which both adhered- should be regarded as a binding contract between school district and student. To change the rules at the last minute is not right or just.
Changes to the policy should be made with an entering class of freshman so that they will have time to plan their goal.
I understand that the Taylors contacted the governors office, which in turn contacted WCSD.
It was by chance that Blake and Liam learned of this challenge to the guidelines. How wicked was that to try to slip a change in guidelines by and essentially pull the rug out from two deserving students?
Chloe Gedneyon October 29, 2016 at 4:59 pm
It is not right to change a policy mid year and to take away the full honor of the val and sal positions from the rightful students of the graduating class of 2017. Secondly, I do not understand how a sophomore-aged student could possibly give a meaningful address to the seniors when this student never attended school with their class. Val and Sal are supposed to be peers, not underclassmen.
C.J. Whiteon October 29, 2016 at 7:43 pm
This is not a “both sides” situation. This issue has as many sides as there are students in White County High School’s class of 2017. Then there’s the so-called “side” of a girl whose only interest in being part of that class is to snatch its top honor away from the student who, both through her longstanding membership in that class and her extraordinarily hard work, is the only legitimate contender for it. The fact that the Board of Education is legitimizing this family’s sense of entitlement by trying to make anything at all work for them is just shameful.
Terry Burchon October 30, 2016 at 9:38 am
Shame on you Doctor Taylor!!!
Andolph Edmonsonon October 30, 2016 at 5:35 pm
I’m with you. But you know money & influence wins in White County. SO…..when this is shoved down everyone’s throat people first need to remember this at election time. Secondly when she speaks to the senior class, everyone should stand up and turn their back to her. Now, who has the guts to pack the next BOC meeting with the same crowd that showed up for the gun range issue?
S. Lawsonon October 30, 2016 at 3:31 pm
This is ridiculous! First of all, she is not a member of that class or even the school. Secondly, as mentioned above, she is not old enough to be a member of that class. As a home schooling mom myself, I recognize and accept full responsibility for the choices I’ve made for my children. I would not presume to suddenly push my child into the class of 2020 at WCHS when she has never set foot on the campus. And trying to end run it through the governors office just shows that they know they shouldn’t be doing this. My kid will be the Val, the Sal, the President and anything else she wants to be for the class of 2020 at our school, even if she participates in MOWR next year.
Tammie Harperon October 30, 2016 at 4:11 pm
It’s not fair for to the students attending WCHS fulltime! The school should offer honors classes that some nearby college/university will honor as dual enrollment, qualifying to count as college credit hours, instead. It is done this way in other places. It certainly could be here too!
Andolph Edmonsonon October 30, 2016 at 5:01 pm
Someone thinks they are better than everyone else, don’t they? If she has not attended a class at White County why has she not already graduated? Obviously she has enough credits. And the fact she wanted to graduate with her friends is not a good enough reason to change this policy. But, remember this is White County. The end result will be based on who has the name influence & money. She might get Validictorian but she will be the most hate one in any graduating class. This is what happens when you let the Indians run the reservation. What happened to these are the rules, accept it and keep your mouth shut. And the parents probably what the prestige of running around town saying their daughter got it.
Tommy Burchon October 30, 2016 at 5:10 pm
Rules are set for a reason and there is a proper time to request a change…not 2 months before decision is made. If the rule needs changing then the begining of school year would be the proper time and then be posted where all can see and be aware. Not some sneaky back door change because of the influencial family can benefit from it….while the true deserving childs family was almost completely unaware.
Julie Reisson October 31, 2016 at 10:09 am
A student who earns the honor of being valedictorian and salutatorian should attend the school in my opinion. Those graduates will remember their graduation night and the speeches for a very long time. How much more meaningful would it be from students you actually went to school with versus a stranger? I’m not saying the other student isn’t deserving, but give her an honor along with the other students who have earned honors, but don’t take away the rights of the students who have attended classes along with all of the other WCHS graduates and don’t take away the special memories that will be made that night by all of them. They’ve worked long and hard for what they earned. Sometimes including everyone isn’t the right answer for the situation. If policy needs to be changed, change it for the freshman class like someone else suggested, and don’t punish the students affected by the current policy. Attending college classes was her family’s choice and all choices in life have aftereffects.
Ron Hoodon October 31, 2016 at 5:02 pm
A change like this should not occur until ALL the current students, 9th grade through 12th grade, have graduated. Sounds like the lame duck BOE chairman is in favor of this. This should not even be considered until the newly-elected chairman and board members are in office.
RJ O'Brienon November 1, 2016 at 6:42 pm
Understand that a school assembly was held today with both Dr Taylor’s in attendance. Why were the parents of Blake and Liam not asked to attend ? Why was it suggested to the student assembly that there be 2 sets of valedictorian/salutatorians for dual enrollment and and traditional high school students?
Dual enrollment was an option available to Blake and Liam, but they opted out because there was no chance that they would be eligible for valedictorian/salutatorian. WHY are you going to change the rules for the Taylors? ITS NOT RIGHT!
How many lawyers will this take?
MPon November 3, 2016 at 4:18 pm
This is just ridiculous. I am a mother of a five year old who wants to be in college because of how cool her cousins make it sound. Five years old, really I hope and pray that my child will be as intelligent as these two very bright young women. I mean even as smart as our kids are and as much as we want the very very best for them , let me ask you this you want them to grow up faster to be valedictorian of a class that’s not even theirs ? I feel bad for your child. I’m just sayin. I just want the time to slow down so I can enjoy whatever life has to offer us at this moment in time . You guys must be crazy and just care about the money and to just want to be on top that you can’t stand it that someone else is better than you . I’m just gonna laugh when that student body boos her off the stage . Because she doesn’t belong with that class. Get over yourselfs. I’m not sure who you think you are to think that it is even right to go this to the deserving. Just because you think you are better than everyone else.
Sam Brownon May 7, 2017 at 11:22 am
Both houses of Congress disagreed with the few of you writing disparaging remarks against this young student.
Congress even passed a bill, virtually unanimously, requiring schools not to strip students like Christie of their honors.
Truly, how many of you ever spoke to this student or her family to hear the real truth of the story? I am certain not one of you called them, or you would know that this student IS enrolled in the high school and IS ranked number one in her high school senior class. She has been enrolled in White County Schools continuously since elementary school, in a program the school system developed for her.
By the words of Christie’s own classmates–Christie is one of the sweetest, kindest people in the school, and would never say a bad word against anyone (which includes all of you blasting her). Christie loves people and loves God. She is the real deal.
Did you know that Christie’s dual enrollment program is the high school program chosen by White County High to best fit Christie’s level of learning? Christie’s high school classes are very difficult, including: organic chemistry, advanced calculus, and calculus-based physics, and other classes not even offered in the high school building; so the school set up a program to let Christie take her advanced high school courses in other locations. But, these are still Christie’s high school courses and Christie has made straight A’s in them and earned two college degrees in Chemistry and Biology before even graduating high school, at the age of only 15. Christie’s hard work should be celebrated and honored, not belittled in an attempt to run her into the ground. How many of you know that Christie actually took her 9th grade honors courses on campus in White County before heading to a rigorous dual enrollment program, offered and promoted by the high school? Did you know that White County High School receives full funding for Christie, just like every other student in the high school? Did you know that Christie IS enrolled in the high school and sees her guidance counselor regularly, who recommends, approves, and plans her high school program and her courses?
Things that are new or different are often criticized or misunderstood. White County Schools pride themselves in pursuing rigor, innovations, technology, modern learning, and creating programs to fit every child’s level.
This high school program may be different for some of you, but it is taking the nation by storm! Christie’s parents did not push her into this level of learning, but actually opposed it for a long time, until it became obvious that Christie had been given a unique and special gift to be nurtured. Christie and the White County High School chose this path for Christie, not her parents. I encourage you to get to know this sweet child and her family, who donate so much time and and resources to help our county, our local churches, and numerous families in need throughout decades. Please take the time to gather all of the facts from both sides, before being so cruel to a child. Did you know that this child NEVER requested a policy change for Valedictorian, as you have falsely accused? Did you know that the high school handbook states that the student with the highest GPA shall be recognized as Valedictorian? and that Christie is the only one who meets this criteria? Did you know that Christie never tried to eliminate anyone from receiving honors in the school, and even offered to share Valedictorian honors with the student ranked number 2 in the class, who did not have a GPA even close to Christie’s? Christie is gracious and kind. Please get to know her, and when you see her, pat her on the back and say, “You worked hard in your high school program. Good job, kiddo!” Leave the vicious remarks behind, and take a tip from Christie–by showing kindness and speaking well of others.
Christie Tayloron May 19, 2017 at 9:04 pm
Having been in the only class Christie was actually present at white county in 8th grade, I can assure you no one likes Christie Taylor.