High school’s top student forced to share valedictorian spot

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Eighteen-year-old Ladarius Sapho has the best grade point average at his high school in Maywood, Illinois.

But Sapho won’t be Proviso East High School’s sole valedictorian on graduation day. Just two weeks before graduation, Sapho was told by school administrators he didn’t qualify because he started at the school as a sophomore.

The school’s policy, according to principal Tony Valente, requires students to have attended Proviso East for at least seven semesters.

“I had a speech ready, I was ready to give this speech,” Sapho told Chicago’s FOX 32 News. “And [Valente] tells me I can’t be number one.”

The so-called policy also affects the school’s second-best student – the salutatorian — who, like Sapho, also won’t qualify. A spokesperson for the Proviso Township High Schools District told FOX 32 investigative reporter Dane Placko the specific policy was located on the school’s website.  A spokesman said something similar to the Forest Park Review’s Jean Lotus.

The policy has still not been located or spelled out specifically from the district.

Last week, the school’s principal offered Sapho a ‘co-valedictorian’ position along with Jennifer Ramirez, whose GPA of 4.079 was lower than Sapho’s 4.135.

Sapho accepted, but the Review reports he has chosen not to make a speech.

The paper also reports Sapho plans to attend the University of Hawaii-Pacific. Sapho said he will “major in biochemistry with the goal of obtaining a Ph.D and becoming a doctor.” 

TheGrio.com reached out to district spokesman Rob Daniel for further comment on this story.

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