Whenever we accomplish something great, many people like to be recognized for it—it’s just human nature.
Whether it be performing well on a test, giving a knockout performance in a musical, or scoring a game-winning goal in soccer, most of us like being told “good job” or “congratulations.”
While praise usually isn’t the only reason we would do something, it’s certainly a big motivator. When we don’t receive compliments for something big and impressive, it can feel like what we’ve done was unimportant and that we shouldn’t have tried so hard.
That’s how Josh Allmon felt when he graduated high school. He grades were the highest in his class yet he wasn’t recognized as valedictorian.
His father, Garry Allmon, fought to right this wrong and let the world know that his son is a superstar!
Josh Allmon graduated at the top of his class but he wasn’t declared valedictorian.
✅All-Conference in 2 sports
✅Beta Club President
✅Had job senior year
✅450 community service hours
✅NC State Chancellors Leadership Scholar
✅College tuition paid for
✅ First in my class
— Joshua Allmon (@joshua_allmon) June 12, 2018
Josh graduated with a 5.31 GPA and was listed at the top of his class. He was highly involved in campus organizations and sports.
The student had 450 community service hours under his belt. By all accounts, he should have been valedictorian!
Yet, according to The Raleigh News and Observer, East Wake High School in Wake County, North Carolina, has stopped naming valedictorians in favor of the Latin honors system which considers everyone above a 4.25 GPA as summa cum laude.
This was done in an effort to stop unhealthy competition within the school, and while it’s a nice sentiment to recognize all students who performed well, those who ranked at the top of their class felt understandably cheated out of their titles.
When Garry learned about this change, he wasn’t going to take it sitting down. He wanted to make sure that his son was recognized, whether the school would do it or not.
Garry paid for a billboard for his son.
On June 4, the dad posted a picture of a billboard to Facebook.
“Congrats! Josh Allmon you will always be our valedictorian,” it read.
As it turned out, Garry had paid for the $1,800 billboard himself. According to WRAL, Josh knew his dad was thinking about doing this but was surprised he actually went through with it.
“I didn’t actually think you would do it because I figured it would be so expensive,” he told his father.
With costs being so high, Garry paid for just 10 days of billboard exposure. The sign was replaced on June 12—he hoped that would be enough time for the town to see his message.
“East Wake High School and Wake County Public School Board may not recognize Josh’s hard work, but we will,” the proud father wrote in his post.
“Please, if you are on 264 heading east towards Zebulon, take time to take a look at the big digital billboard just pass the East Wake exit.”
Josh will be studying chemical engineering and paper science engineering at North Carolina State University this fall. In the meantime, he hopes that the billboard story will spark policy changes that reward students for their hard work.
“Hopefully, people outside of the school will see that it’s an issue, and how the policies are affecting the students,” he told WRAL.
Good luck in college, Josh. If it’s anything like high school, you’re sure to excel!