TAYLOR MILL, Ky. -- The generations-old traditions of high school graduation in Kenton County are getting a 21st century makeover.
Students who graduate will still wear gowns and mortarboards, and “Pomp and Circumstance" will still accompany them down the aisle, but the valedictorian’s speech is going the way of the chalkboard and cursive writing.
Many high schools recognize a valedictorian and salutatorian - the two students with the highest GPAs - in each graduating class, but Kenton County schools will switch over to a system that allows more than two students to be recognized for outstanding academic achievement.
According to district spokesperson Jess Dykes, the county’s three high schools will transition to a Latin honors system with three tiers: summa cum laude for students with a GPA of 4.2 or higher; magna cum laude for students with GPAs between 4.19 and 3.8; and cum laude for students with GPAs between 3.719 and 3.5.
“As many in the class that get that high can obtain that honor," Dykes said.
Of the three high schools in the county, only one - Scott High School - will begin implementing the Latin system this year. Simon Kenton and Dixie Heights decided to phase the new practice in with their incoming freshman class.
Malina Owens, who has a daughter at Simon Kenton High School, said she loves the change.
“She is in the running for valedictorian,” Owens said. “I want my daughter to have options, and I think if we were just on a cum laude system, she’d have more options."