Ladarius Sapho, an 18-year-old senior at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois, was told that he couldn’t be his school’s valedictorian due to a policy some say don’t exist.
With a 4.135 GPA, Sapho worked hard to earn the top spot but, because he transferred to the school in his sophomore year, was told by Principal Tony Valente that he didn’t qualify for the honor.
“I was gonna be number one, valedictorian of 2014. I was going to be giving the speech at graduation,” said Sapho.
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However, last week, both Sapho and the school’s number two student, the salutatorian, got called to the office for some bad news.
Principal Tony Valente told them they didn’t qualify for the honors, because both students started at the school as sophomores after moving into the district. requires they must have attended for at least seven semesters to get the titles.
“You’re gonna tell me just two weeks before graduation? I had a speech ready, I was ready to give this speech, practicing and he tells me I can’t be number one,” added Sapho.
Community advocate Antoinette Gray has been working to help Sapho get the title he earned.
“There is no policy,” said Gray. “They have been asked not once, but two or three times to produce that written policy. And the reason that was given by Tony Valente, the school principal, was that it was his discretion to make that decision.”
A district spokesman told FOX 32 the policy is on the district’s website, but we couldn’t find it either.
“You’re teaching the kids something wrong. You’re teaching them you can work hard, but it’s okay for somebody else to get the credit,” said Bridgette Peterson who is a mother.
Sapho eventually was told that he could share co-valedictorian honors with Jennifer Ramirez, who has a GPA of 4.079.
Sapho declined to give his speech.