Saturday, June 22, 2024

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Class of 2024 first in ABSS eligible to receive Latin honors; no more “Top Ten” seniors


This weekend’s commencement exercises for the Alamance-Burlington school system’s class of 2024 will be the first time that the highest-achieving seniors will receive Latin honors – rather than class rankings based strictly on final Grade Point Averages previously used to calculate each high school’s Top 10 graduates.

Now, under a revised policy that the school board adopted in January 2020, each graduating class will have three potential levels of academic recognition: Cum Laude; Magna Cum Laude; and Summa Cum Laude.  The new honors system is reserved exclusively for graduating seniors who earn a grade point average of 3.75 or better.

The designation of “Cum Laude,” the Latin phrase meaning “with distinction” represents graduating seniors who have earned a GPA between 3.75 and 3.99, under the current ABSS policy that governs special academic recognition.

The designation of “Magna Cum Laude” (Latin for “with great distinction”) represents graduates who have earned a GPA between 4.0 and 4.249.

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The designation of “Summa Cum Laude” (Latin for “with the highest distinction”) represents graduating seniors who have earned a GPA of 4.25 or higher.

In outlining the then-proposed policy change for school board members in December 2019, ABSS chief academic officer Revonda Johnson said that the Latin honors system is familiar to parents and universally recognized by college admissions staff.

Under the revised policy that school board members voted unanimously to approve in January 2020, academic honors reflect a composite of all grades earned in grades nine through 12, as well as “quality points” awarded for Honors-level courses successfully completed during high school.  Any Latin honors designation also will be listed on students’ high school transcripts.

Approximately 363 (25 percent) of the more than 1,400 seniors in the class of 2024 will graduate with honors, including those who graduated late last month from the Alamance-Burlington Early College (ABEC) housed at Alamance Community College, based on a breakdown that ABSS furnished to The Alamance News.

By comparison, only 60 seniors (4.6 percent) of approximately 1,306 seniors at the then-six traditional ABSS high schools in the class of 2023 made the “Top 10,” under the former academic recognition system.

For the class of 2024, 111 seniors will graduate with Cum Laude honors; 90, with Magna Cum Laude honors; and 162 with Summa Cum Laude honors.

However, the total number of seniors graduating with honors is subject to change, as final grades will continue to be calculated until Friday, which is the last day of the 2023-24 school year for most students, school officials told the newspaper this week.

While the school system’s administration had originally proposed eliminating the valedictorian and salutatorian recognitions for each graduating class – an idea that Johnson had said all high school principals were on board with at the time – school board members rejected that idea but voted unanimously to adopt the Latin honors system.  She had said that the public school systems in Guilford, Orange, Rockingham, and Wake counties also had moved to the Latin honors system, or were planning to do so.

The senior with the highest-weighted cumulative GPA is selected as valedictorian; the student with the second-highest weighted GPA is selected as the salutatorian.

Commencement exercises for ABSS are scheduled to begin this afternoon and run through Saturday evening.  The schedule is as follows:


  • Ray Street Academy, 2:00 p.m. at Ray Street Academy;
  • Alamance Virtual School, 7:00 p.m. at Williams High School.


  • Western High School, 6:30 p.m. at Elon University;
  • Southeast High School, 7:00 p.m. at Mebane Arts & Community Center;
  • Williams High School, 7:00 p.m. at Williams High School auditorium.


  • Cummings High School, 9:00 a.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex field house;
  • Graham High School, 12:30 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex field house;
  • Eastern High School, 4:00 p.m. the Greensboro Coliseum Complex field house;
  • Southern, 7:00 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex field house.

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