Tawnell D. Hobbs
The Wall Street Journal
October 6, 2017

Ryan Walters has loaded up on advanced classes, studied until the wee hours and composed possible graduation speeches in his head as the high-school junior worked to be valedictorian at Heritage High School in Wake Forest, N.C.

But neither he nor any of his classmates will hold the title.

The Wake County Public School System, the 15th-largest in the nation, won’t have valedictorians after this school year, joining other districts that have moved away from lauding a single-highest performer.

“I think it’s pretty stupid, and I don’t think it’s fair,” says Mr. Walters, 16 years old. “Wake County is instilling in us that we shouldn’t try to be the best.”