WhenJosh Allmongraduated from East Wake High School in North Carolina, he finished at the top of his class. And while that technically makes him the valedictorian, his school district stopped naming the top students in the class as valedictorians back in 2016. Josh’s parents wanted to recognize all his hard work and academic success, so his dad, Garry, paid $1,800 for a digital billboard displaying a message congratulating him for his achievement.
"East Wake High School and Wake County Public School Board may not recognize Josh's hard work, but we will," Garry writes in aFacebook post. "Please, if you are on 264 heading east towards Zebulon, take time to take a look at the big digital billboard just past the East Wake exit."
The Raleigh “News and Observer” reports reports that Wake County schools did away with naming valedictorians to preserve the feelings of the students who missed the honor by very small margins. School board members also wanted to cut back on “unhealthy competition” among students. But for a teen like Josh, who graduated with a GPA of 5.31, played two sports, and was involved in extracurricular activities, not getting the distinction he earned as the top student in his class is upsetting.
“The billboard stood for more than my recognition,” he tweeted. “It was a public statement, geared towards an increased public awareness on the negative effects that come with such policies. High achieving students have their reputations undermined by them.”