In reference to Lynn McDaniel’s response to Mr. Boardman’s comments about having multiple valedictorians at Nevada Union High School, she is advised to check the definition of the word “valedictorian.”
“Valedictorian is an academic title conferred upon the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony (called a valedictory). The chosen valedictorian is usually the student with the highest ranking among his or her graduating class. The valedictory address generally is considered a final farewell to classmates before they disperse to pursue their individual paths after graduating.”
The full text from which the previous excerpt was taken can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valedictorian.
From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “The student usually having the highest rank in a graduating class who delivers the valedictory address at the commencement exercises.”
“Salutatorian” is an academic title given to the second-highest graduate of the entire graduating class and is only bestowed upon one person.
Should the school choose to honor the additional 52 deserving students, they should choose a new title that does not require a farewell speech, rather than taking the honor away from the one and only valedictorian.