UPDATE: The father of the Evans High School senior who was initially bumped out of her Salutatorian spot says he received an update from the board of education this morning.
He says his daughter, Courtlyn Myers, will also graduate as Salutatorian.
Evans High School will have two salutatorians.
The Myers family is excited about the news. Courtlyn plans to head to University of Georgia in the fall.
“I’m going to be double majoring in psychology and business on the pre-med track. I’ll probably be there for a couple of years, probably six,” Courtlyn told us.
“They’ve assured me that there’s going to be some looking into some of those policies and some adjustments are probably going to need to be made,” Corey Myers said.
The family said they are thankful for both district leaders and the community for its support.
Evans High School graduation takes place on Friday, May 26th.
Original article below:
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – With one month until students in Columbia County walk across the stage and receive their diplomas, one honors graduate fights for her number two title, Salutatorian.
Corey Myers remembers just how bright and talented his daughter was at early age. And he told NewsChannel 6 her teachers sang her praises.
“Out of middle school, she was the top of the class. Once she got into high school, her and the current Valedictorian Baylee Pruitt, they were one and two for the last four years. Either she was number one or Courtlyn’s number one or Courtlyn’s number two or she’s number two. And it’s been that same battle for the last four years,” Myers said of his daughter’s education.
That healthy competition changed in the blink of an eye when a third student entered the race, an underclassman.
“Last Wednesday when I received a phone call at about 8 o’clock in the morning telling me we don’t want you to be surprised, but your daughter has lost her Salutatorian spot,” he recalled of the moment everything changed.
Myers said he was shocked. And his daughter was crushed. Evans High School held its honors program the next day where Courtlyn received her honors cords and multiple awards. Her Salutatorian designation, however, went to a junior who has been bumped up to the graduating class of 2023 just one month before graduation day May 26.
Courtlyn is now number 3.
“When you are looking at a cumulative score, you have to have a drastic drop in grades to drop in points when you look at a cumulative of four years. No one knew about an 11th grader who was bumped up, so then we started looking at the AP classes.”
AP classes gave Myers the answer he was looking for and after some digging, he learned Columbia County Board of Education changed its policy recently, awarding students ten points for successfully completing certain courses instead of five. Courtlyn passed 14 AP courses. The other student less than half that number.
“When you change a policy like that, and you’ve had someone who’s been in school for three years under an old policy and you change it to a new policy, and it affects the weighting, it’s not fair and it’s not equitable,” Myers told us.
CCBOE shared a document with NewsChannel 6 explaining how rankings are done. It reads calculations are done at the end of the third grading period. We hope to learn if the fourth grading period counts too and will be considered.
Myers takes part in more than a dozen organizations, was named student of the year and even has the support of the Valedictorian, who’s also her best friend.
The Myers said they are even ok with co-Salutatorian.
Corey Myers plans to speak at Tuesday night’s school board meeting in hopes of getting his daughter’s Salutatorian status back before the May 26th graduation. In addition to the AP policy change, he has other tools in his arsenal he plans to use that he feels will help in the fight. He added that he’s not just fighting for his daughter, but other students, noting that the number 10 student is no longer in the Top 10 and thus can’t receive certain honors.
Myers also added that his daughter is going to University of Georgia where she will be studying Psychology in the school’s honor’s program.
Corey Myers took his concerns about his daughter’s class rank to the five-member Columbia County Board of Education Tuesday night. He said after working hard for years to be named Valedictorian or Salutatorian of her class, the honor was stripped away by an underclassman.
The Myers family told NewsChannel 6 they were shocked by the sudden change that leaves their daughter, senior honor student Courtlyn Myers, left without the distinction she’s worked for throughout high school. Corey Myers explained to the board during his presentation that the recent change from five points to ten points for AP courses was implemented unfairly.
“Now that this new person is in the mix, she’s got less years at the five point and she’s got the ten point bumps, so her points are out weighted,” he explained. “The policy should have been rewritten and stated that this change will affect incoming freshmen for the class of whatever year they implemented the policy so that way all the existing classes would be weighted the same.”
We spoke with an administrator and he said the AP policy was changed during the 2021-2022 school year. He also said the process was measured against University of Georgia’s system.
Director of Curriculum and Instructions for Secondary Schools, Dr. Brian Campbell told us, “We wanted to give them the advantage of that ten point bump when they’re applying for scholarships, applying to colleges.”
Courtlyn’s parents said they received word about the change just 24 hours before the honors ceremony where their daughter received multiple awards and her honors cords, but not her Salutatorian designation. That’s something they were told by the school counselor could come later.
“They said based off the fourth quarter grades, Courtlyn is number two again,” said Corey Myers.
Dr. Campbell explained the calculation for Val and Sal are only done at the end of the third, nine week grading period.
“That allows them to be recognized at honors programs. That allows them to do the speech,” he said.
The Myers, who pointed out that it does not take nine weeks to write a speech, said it’s simple, make both students co-Salutatorian.
“Let’s just say hey let’s make this situation right because in 2020 they had co-Valedictorians,” Myers said pointing to a similar situation where a junior moved into the senior class and became co-Valedictorian.
“It has to be [an] identical GPA down to the thousandth point in order to be a co-Val or co-Sal per policy,” Dr. Campbell stressed.
Other points Myers made to the board are how the awards policy states that if an honor student falls below the honors average at the end of the fourth period, they will not be announced as an honor grad. He asked, how can it be fair to take back honors cords but not Val/Sal positions?
Myers also noted that the student who bumped his daughter will not be speaking to a class of her peers that she’s spent the last four years with during the graduation day Salutatory address.
The board did not give a response after the Tuesday night presentation by Myers, but will follow up with the family.