Valedictorian and salutatorian are two honors recognized in graduating classes in North America. We will examine the meanings of the terms valedictorian and salutatorian, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.
The valedictorian of a graduating class is the student who has the highest grade point average, and is often lauded for his extracurricular activities and service hours, as well. The valedictorian is called that because he gives the valedictory speech at commencement, which is considered a farewell speech to his classmates. The word valedictorian is derived from the Latin phrase vale dicere, which means to say farewell. Competition for the position of valedictorian is often fierce, as there are many grants and scholarships open to those who achieve this status.
The salutatorian of a graduating class is the student who has the second highest grade point average, and is often lauded for his extracurricular activities and service hours as well. The salutatorian gives the salutation, or welcoming speech at commencement. The word salutatorian is derived from salutatory, meaning greeting.
Valedictorian, Bradlee Paul Thrasher, the son of Rodney and Paula Thrasher, Bartonsville, has attended Faith Christian School since kindergarten. (The Pocono Record)
Neng Thao, an Edison High School magna cum laude valedictorian, member of the City of Fresno Youth Leadership Commission and intended UC Berkeley student for the upcoming fall semester, died Saturday afternoon after a drowning accident. (The Daily Californian)
Principals requested that the board amend a district policy on class rankings, citing concern that students were making scheduling decisions based on their desire to be valedictorian or salutatorian instead of choosing classes that would help them succeed in their careers. (The Salisbury Post)