Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Every school year, as springtime approaches, the minds of our senior student and their families turn to our graduation and commencement ceremonies. Many wonder who will be the year's valedictorian and salutatorian. Below you will find how Payson High School selects students to receive these academic honors. Additional information about our graduation can be found on the PHS Counseling page.

Graduation photo

What is a valedictorian and salutatorian?

The title of valedictorian is used to distinguish the individual graduating student who has achieved the highest level of academic excellence among all of the graduates. This student delivers a speech at the commencement ceremony, which is called a "valedictory."

The title of salutatorian is used to distinguish the individual graduating student who is ranked in second place in academic excellence among all the graduates. This student also delivers a commencement address, which is called a "salutatory."

How are the valedictorian and salutatorian selected?

Payson High School administration makes the decision, using a mathematical formula to determine which students are awarded these titles among the upcoming graduates. Only students with a 4.0 GPA are considered. After qualifying for consideration with a 4.0 GPA, the formula is as follows:

Achievement Score = [ACT Score divided by 3] + [the number of AP and Concurrent Enrollment classes taken] + [the number of Honors classes divided by 2]

This formula produces an academic achievement score. The student with the highest score is awarded valedictorian status. The student with the second highest score is awarded salutatorian status. In the rare event of  a tie, a tie-breaking protocol is used in which the school administration looks at extra-curricular involvement. 


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