Latina Forced to Share Valedictorian Title Even Though She Earned It

Earning the title of valedictorian is no easy feat. The title of being at the top of your class is a recognition that students work their whole lives for. It means not going out, not socializing, not missing school, endless hours of studying and earning every single A. Being hailed as the valedictorian is something that should be celebrated by everyone that helped them get there. However, instead of celebrating, a senior at Jesse Bethel High School is confused about why her title was taken away from her.

Ivette Ramos is the mother of Natalie and she’s taking to Facebook to get the word out that her daughter’s valedictorian title is being wrongfully taken away.

“My daughter Natalie is ranked #1 in her class with a 4.27 GPA,” she said on Facebook. “She was told by her counselor that she would be the first Latina Valedictorian at Jesse Bethel High School and it seems like the Principal has a problem with that. Principal Cusi wants her to share the spot with 9 other students. This has never been done before at Jesse Bethel, why now? The moment a Latina becomes Valedictorian it seems to be a problem.”

Ramos said that it’s not fair her child has to share the title if she had the GPA to be No. 1. She also said that her daughter will be among ten that will be able to give a speech during graduation. Who has ever heard of ten valedictorians?

Natalie’s sister also shared the information on Twitter, saying “This is my little sister everyone. She’s going to UC Berkeley in the fall. She’s #1 in her class and deserves the spotlight of being the first Latina valedictorian at JSBH. Call 7075565700 and tell [Principal] Cusi he cannot silence us!”

The calls to action were posted on Friday, and all of the attention that her post has garnered so far seems to have worked, but not for the best. Yesterday, the school district issued a letter saying that after “preliminary measures” they have three students that have the same GPA. Furthermore, the letter included how they weighted each grade including those for AP classes and non-weighted grade point average. Now it looks that because of their new standards, Natalie is not at the top of her class anymore.

Natalie’s sister did not take that news lightly. She tweeted, “Also After this story went viral my sisters GPA dropped and she went from #1 to #3. Retaliation ??? Call (707)556-5700 and tell Cusi he cannot change my sisters GPA and ranking drop because she told the world her story!”

People in their community are not pleased with this outcome and are calling foul on social media. Alejandra Marquez shared on Facebook, “When has anyone every shared Valedictorian with 9 other people! Absolutely ridiculous!!!! You should celebrate the gal for her achievements and not all of a sudden change the rules based off of her skin color. YOU are the problem Cusi, and if the other teachers don’t stand up to this, they are too. Now all of a sudden, her GPA has dropped! Insanity!!”

We don’t think this will go over very well, especially for the principal who has already had other legal matters.

Natalie posted the following comment on her mother’s original Facebook post.

“I’m tired of seeing all this negativity amongst the multitudes of threads that have been made targeted towards me and my mother,” Natalie writes. “FIRST OFF I’d like to state that I TOO was at the graduation meeting as a student representative for the Class of 2019. I heard what my principal said about there being “multiple valedictorians” AT THE MEETING and IMMEDIATELY knew there was something wrong. Why? Because I’m good friends with the majority of the other kids in the top ten. A lot of them are just as mad as me. They KNOW we don’t have the same GPA. We’re all good friends. We talk about college, our hopes and dreams, and amongst other things, our GPAs. My transcript clearly states I’m #1. Last semester I was actually ranked 2nd and I climbed my way up to the top rank. I’m extremely proud of myself but please, if you don’t know what you’re talking about keep your comments to yourself. I’d also like to add that no one has said ANYTHING about discrimination. I’m simply stating that my counselor, who has worked at Bethel since it opened, told me I’d be the first Latina valedictorian. Knowing this, I know it makes it even more important to not share the spotlight with kids who don’t have the same GPA as me. Being the first is an honor in itself and I don’t want my light to be dimmed by having to share something that I worked towards all four years with others who have expressed to me that they wouldn’t feel right receiving the same honor as I have.”

While the post is still public, the comment section has been turned off.

Update, April 24: 

Looks like Jesse Bethel High School has had a change of heart. Natalie’s mom reports that she will be the sole valedictorian after all. Principal Cusi issued a statement that said after further calculations of student GPAs, Natalie did earn the top spot and won’t have to share the stage with nine other students.

Here’s the post below:

Congrats, Natalie! We can’t wait to hear your speech!


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