In 2014-15, the AHS Instructional Improvement Council (IIC) explored alternative criteria for designating the valedictorian and salutatorian honor with the goal of establishing a designation that represented the various merits of a student's experience and contribution to Albany High. The new criteria and selection process for the valedictorian and salutatorian was vetted with all AHS governing bodies, and in the spring of 2015, the IIC voted to implement the new criteria for the class of 2017.

The Oxford English Dictionary definition describes this honor as: "A person, usually the most outstanding graduate, who delivers the valedictory at a graduation ceremony."

The rationale for the change is to broaden the definition of the most outstanding graduate to include more than just the highest weighted GPA. To that end, the IIC developed the following criteria. 

Award Determination Criteria and Procedures

Graduating seniors with a total high school GPA of 3.9 (unweighted) as of the end of the fall semester of their senior year will be invited to apply for the award. Applications will be due within two weeks of the beginning of the 4th quarter (April 21st). Applicants will be required to maintain the 3.9 GPA through the end of the Spring Semester.

Applicants will prepare a resume (identified by student I.D. #, no names) that demonstrates outstanding achievement in at least two of the five following categories: 

  • Athletics 
  • The Arts 
  • Community Service 
  • Extra-curricular Academic Competitions (e.g. Model U.N., Mathletes, etc.) 
  • Internships and other community or work-based learning experiences 

A panel of judges, comprised of two teachers, an administrator, a counselor, and a junior in good standing, will review the applications and select six finalists. The scoring will be “blind” with the panel not able to see the name of the applicant. The resumes will be assessed and scored individually by the judges. No discussions between judges will be allowed. Candidates with equal scores will get a second reading by the judges.

Finalists will be contacted and asked to prepare a 3-5 minute draft of a graduation speech. They may be asked to provide additional documentation as evidence of the experiences described in their resume. The panelists’ top selection will be the Valedictorian. The second place student will be the Salutatorian. The Valedictorian is expected to speak at the commencement ceremony. 

Apply For The Valedictorian and Salutatorian Honor

Submit the following documents to the Counseling Office no later than 3pm on April 21, 2017. These documents should be submitted in a legal manila envelope labeled with the student I.D. number. Please make sure the student’s name is not on any document.

  • Student’s resume labeled with only the student I.D. number. 
  • A 1-3 page narrative introducing the student, giving a general context about the student’s last 4 years, amplifying elements of the resume, and providing specific details in the areas the student wishes to highlight for the judges. 
  • A list of references and contact information to verify participation in all activities listed in the resume.

The selection committee will notify finalists by May 5. Finalists will be asked to prepare and submit a 3-5 minute draft of a graduation speech by May 19. 


  • Information mailed to students: February 9
  • Applications due: April 20
  • Finalists selected and notified: May 4
  • Speeches due: May 18
  • Final grade check: May 25
  • Notification of honor: June 1