SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO : Top-Rated Students Will Get New Title

Under a measure passed by the Board of Education, the senior with the highest grade-point average at each Capistrano Unified School District high school will be named the Scholar of Scholars of his or her graduating class.

"We just felt it is appropriate to recognize these individuals," said William Eller, assistant superintendent.

In most other school districts, the graduate with the highest average is called the valedictorian. But in 1985, Capistrano Unified decided to give that title to any graduate with a grade-point average of 4.0 or higher. A Capistrano graduate can have an average higher than 4.0--a straight-A average in a traditional system--because the district awards a bonus point for each A earned in an advanced-placement class. Many other districts use the same system.

For example, a Capistrano student gets four grade points for receiving an A in a regular class, three points for a B, two for a C, one for a D and none for an F. But in advanced classes, a Capistrano Unified student gets five grade points for an A, four for a B, three for a C, two for a D and none for an F.

"We do a nice job honoring athletes with titles like All-League and All-Star but not such a good job of honoring scholars," Eller said. "These students with 4.0 or higher averages have accomplished something unique, and they deserve the title valedictorian."

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