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12 students will graduate with valedictorian status at one Tennessee high school

Providence Christian Academy valedictorians
Posted at 3:09 PM, May 10, 2022

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Twelve straight-A students at Providence Christian Academy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee are graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Because of this, all twelve get to be valedictorians.

High school seniors Des Henderson, Reese Wrather, Sadie Showalter, Mary Margaret Jones, Mallory Newsome, Lydia Rowland, Kendall Keninitz, Ava Barrett, John Adams, Anderson Reddell, Gray Lynch and Gracie Duke will be graduate with the special honor on Sunday, May 9.

The school never considered a tiebreaker to bring the number of valedictorians down to one.

"If everyone has achieved that same level of recognition what's the point of whittling that down to one person," said Andy Sheets, Assistant Head of School.

According to the school counselor, the three boys and nine girls all deserve the special honor.

"Not all of them had an easy ride these four years, especially coming out of a year of COVID that took them out of school for periods of time, and here at PCA, we did continue that rigor, and coming back from that wasn't easy, but those 12 really pushed through," said Gabby Capurso.

The Class of 2022 has 49 students in it, meaning nearly 25% had the 4.0 GPA necessary to be valedictorian.

"I can't go without saying that the curriculum is challenging and it's difficult work, so to be able to stand here with 11 other people and truly say we pursued excellence in all of this — it's challenging — so it's an honor to be able to sit here," said Gracie Duke, one of the valedictorians.

Counselor Capurso agreed it is no easy feat to end with a 4.0.

"If you have earned an A, an unweighted A in every single course and never gotten a B, you have a 4.0 GPA, so that is a huge accomplishment," said Capurso.

While there is competition in the classroom, friendly competition may be a reason for the record number of valedictorians.

"I think that's how there ended up being twelve of us because we all sort of grab each other's arms and sort of pull each other together," said Des Henderson, one of the valedictorians.

Providence Christian Academy, which opened in 1997, has had multiple valedictorians in the past, but never more than 20% of the class.

This story was first reported by Hannah McDonald at WTVFin Nashville, Tenn.