I'd like to start this off by congratulating Vineland High School valedictorian Sara Parks and salutatorian Rucha Shah who may be the last two students to earn those achievements.

In Vineland they want to do away with class rankings and I say, why? We get so little rewards in New Jersey. If you're a student who has worked hard enough to be come the smartest kid in the class, or even the second smartest, you should be recognized. The school board voted to scrap the long standing tradition, school board president Scott English wants to revisit.

The debate comes from those who feel the class rank put students under too much pressure and those who believe, much like athletes, scholars should be challenged and able to compete to be the best. I side with the latter.

First off kids, you are going to be in competition for the rest of your life and grades are only the beginning. You need to rack up as many awards and achievements as possible. Soon will come college, many of which don't put an emphasis on rank but it doesn't matter. You'll also be in competition for a job, not to mention the competition in finding love, which could bring competition in finding a home to live in and a school for your child to deal with this same stuff.  Life is all about competition and the quicker you learn that the better.

Being valedictorian or salutatorian is an honor that must not be taken away. In a society where we're willing to give away participation trophies, why remove something that is so well earned. You may not get college recognition for that speech but you will make your parents proud and start the next phase of your competition on a high note. Believe me when you get there, you'll need every advantage.

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