In the olden days (when I was young), being valedictorian of one's high school class meant that one was the best student in that class. It was, and should be, a singular achievement. One could envision a situation in which, perhaps, two students were inseparable after their high school years, but in some school districts today, naming a valedictorian has reached the point of ridiculousness. For the past decade or so, we at the newspaper have been receiving commencement announcements from area high schools that contain six or 10 or 14 or even more valedictorians. Peters Township School District might have set the record for the sheer number of valedictorians with 28 of its 359 graduates receiving the "honor" this year. That's one of about every 13 students being named "top in the class." There still are some districts that "get it" when it comes to bestowing the honor. Fort Cherry and Jefferson-Morgan, among others, stuck with the standard valedictorian-salutatorian formula. I commend them. McGuffey named three "honor graduates" among its 160 seniors. Waynesburg Central honored six students among its 153 graduates, but at least Central didn't call them valedictorians. They were referred to as summa cum laude graduates, which seems fine to me. Peters Township isn't alone in devaluing the meaning of the valedictorian honor. Carmichaels, with 77 graduates, had six valedictorians and one salutatorian. That's one of every 11 students receiving top honors. The honor, such as it is, has been diluted. It's just hard to believe that after four years of high school, more than two students legitimately can be said to be equals at the top of a graduating class. Surely one has risen above his or her classmates, even by a slim margin. And the problem is evident not just at graduation time. One of our editors remarked the other day that about 55 percent of the student body appears on the honor roll at Canon-McMillan High School. What's the honor in that? And nowadays, we don't have just highest honors and honors. We have honorable mention. We don't want too many people feeling left out for even the most modest academic achievements. Back in the day, receiving an "A" on a report card meant something. As I recall, a student had to get 94 percent or above on a test or project in order to receive the top grade, and that percentage was reflected on report cards. I'm not sure whether the percentage has changed, but the value of an "A" certainly has. I feel pretty certain that teachers, especially at the high school level, are somewhat afraid to give a top student anything less than an "A" for fear that angry parents will call to raise hell and, if they don't get the grade changed, will take their complaints to the administration or the school board. And, sadly, there are some administrators and school boards that would take the side of the parents over their own teachers. This is just another sign that in this age, everyone is entitled to everything, and everyone must be made to feel "special."