Student With No. 2 GPA Initially Given Top Honors Due To Human ErrorBy Jennifer McLogan

MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island high school was apologizing on Wednesday to two families, following an honor uproar when a mix-up over class ranking accidentally named the graduate in second place as class valedictorian.

Aalique Grahame was thrilled to discover he had the highest grade-point average in Malverne High School’s senior class. But that was only after his aunt who is raising him demanded scrutiny when her nephew was named salutatorian.

“I’ve worked extremely hard to be No. 1 and now that I finally got it I don’t think it is fair to me or my family that I have to share it,” Grahame said.

The mix-up over the top honors was blamed on human error — a missing semester when calculating class rank. Grahame actually had the higher GPA: 95.42. Classmate Sarah St. John’s was 95.16. The problem was St. John had already been named valedictorian.

“If Aalique really deserved it and he did beat me — if only by a little bit — then I don’t want to take it away from him,” St. John said.

Both students and some in the community said they feel disappointment now that the top honor will be shared. But the superintendent said it’s not that unusual and it’s the fair thing to do.

“We were taken by surprise when this was brought to our attention,” Malverne Schools Superintendent James Hunderfund said. “We corrected that and now we’re moving on.”

James Brown is the high school’s principal.

“Both are extremely exceptional young people. You won’t find two better individuals than Aalique and Sarah,” Brown said.

And Aalique and Sarah are friends, but to Aalique’s guardian a damper has been put on her family’s time of celebration.

“His place is the valedictorian and that’s where he should be,” Dorolyn Montgomery said. “He earned it. He worked hard.”

Grahame is the first African American male student to be named as a valedictorian of Malverne High School.

Malverne’s graduation is on June 24. Grahame and St. John will be named co-valedictorians. They have both been offered full scholarships to some of the best colleges in the nation.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Jennifer McLogan

Comments (14)
  1. Cheryl says:

    This was NOT a human error. The school knew this young man was tops his whole 4 years there. He needs to receive this reward without someone riding his coat tail. Would they have made him Co-Valedictorian if it was the other way around? I DON’T THINK SO. They need to reprint the programs so it can be CORRECT without that girl name on the program. I HOPE HIS FAMILY FIGHTS FOR HIS RIGHTS.

  2. James B. McKnight says:

    .26 doesn’t seem like much, really when you think about it, it’s just the difference of winning a gold medal versus watching the event on television. The reason we’re so good in sports is because the score is kept in the light, for example if Larry Bird made a three point shot, he only got 3 points. When we’re told the rules, we excel. this young man was told the rules and excelled and now they want him to share it. That’s always the case when we come out on top, and when the dealing is done behind closed door. Give the Young man his props, that what goes the winner

  3. Ronneek says:

    This is the first time in history that the Malvern School has had an African American valedictorian and can be compared to having the first African American President of the United States. I know both students have a bright future. However, this award should not be shared. Let Aalique enjoy his status as valedictorian. Ther should be no co.

  4. Shell says:

    co-valedictorians? The valedictorian is Aalique Grahame! The first African American male student to be named as a valedictorian at the school has to share it with someone else. That doesn’t seem fair at all.

  5. Rosa says:

    These two students are exceptionally bright. I praise the Superintendent for having co-valedictorians. Their averages are .26 of a difference which is insignificant. When you see top students work so hard they both deserve this top honor. People matter, not fractions!

  6. mom of teenwith disease says:

    cccrrryyy babbbyyy

  7. Zig says:

    This is unacceptable, Sarah agreed to being second, why to they have to share?! RUBBISH!

  8. Donna Ogilvie says:

    I woul d agree that it doesn’t seem right not to give the award only to James. The important thing is that he got a full scholarship to college. So, I would just move on, and accept the co. Obviously everyone now knows who the actual valevictorian is so I feel badly for the girl. She seems mature enough to step down so not sure why the school does not just correct the problem. Congrats to James, great acomplishment and best of luck in college.

    1. Donna Ogilvie says:

      Sorry, not sure where I came up with James, but the valevictorium is Aalique Grahame. Everyone makes mistakes, and the best way to way to move on, apologize and correct it.

  9. Honesty Rules says:

    This is especially a Justice issue. Without the mistake there would be no “co”. If St John could not handle the disappointment, then that would indicate a different issue, which she has proved is not her problem. Do Justice!!!

  10. Anti PC says:

    If it had been the other way around, it would not have made the news

    1. Honesty Rules says:

      Possibly true. The reverse would have found no sharing of an unearned honor. Interesting how PC is used to say that an unearned honor should be given. This is what you are saying, right?

  11. ladyt211 says:

    This young man worked hard and earned the #1 spot, He should not have to share it. The School District should do the right thing and let him have this honor alone. The #2 spot should be given to the young lady who by her own words is ok that she came in second. My question is what happended to the person who made such a big HUMAN ERROR as it is called, there should be some type of discipline.

  12. will says:

    if one has to share the valedictorian award, then it doesn’t have the same meaning….a simular situation happened a few years ago on the apprentience…..only one winner; not co-winners……

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