Two Black Students Won School Honors. Then Came the Calls for a Recount.


The mother and father of the just-named valedictorian and salutatorian left the ceremony, conscious that Emma Berry and her father had been upset, however considering nothing of it. Over the subsequent day, nonetheless, the mother and father of Emma and Dominic did their very own homework.

“We found the 2020-2021 handbook,” Mr. Berry mentioned. “It all came down to the handbook.”

At subject was simply how you can calculate who the prime two college students had been. Ikeria and Layla gained based mostly on a calculation of high quality level common or Q.P.A., a system of calculating grades that gave additional weight to superior placement and twin credit score programs. But, it turned out, Dominic and Emma had been the prime two finishers based mostly on unweighted grade level common.

Join Michael Barbaro and “The Daily” workforce as they have a good time the college students and lecturers ending a yr like no different with a particular reside occasion. Catch up with college students from Odessa High School, which was the topic of a Times audio documentary collection. We will even get loud with a efficiency by the drum line of Odessa’s award-winning marching band, and a particular movie star graduation speech.

The mother and father of the two white college students held discussions with Burnell McDonald, the superintendent of West Point faculties, complaining that the college had not adopted its personal guidelines in calculating class rank.

Based on the West Point High School Student Handbook, and after speaking with the white mother and father, Mr. McDonald, who’s Black, concluded that class rank must be calculated by grade level common, which might have made the two white college students the honorees.

The night earlier than commencement, Mr. McDonald knowledgeable the mother and father of Dominic and Emma: He was including the two white college students as co-honorees — Dominic was now co-valedictorian and Emma, co-salutatorian.

Mr. McDonald additionally permitted two lacking grades — which a trainer had did not document in the system — to be added to the remaining grade in certainly one of Emma’s lessons, previous a deadline and after senior awards evening.

Mr. Berry mentioned that the grades added for Emma didn’t change the final result.

Once the resolution was made, race was not the solely subject that was raised.



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