Lawmaker wants to require schools to name a valedictorian, asks Baker Mayfield to testify

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An Ohio lawmaker is working on a bill to require public schools to name at least on valedictorian. He says he wants Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield to testify regarding competition (WSYX/WTTE)

A state representative is calling on the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns to help bring valedictorians back to all high school graduations. Ohio State Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) filed a bill this week requiring every high school to name at least one student for the high honor.

So how does the Browns star quarterback factor in? Baker Mayfield posted a tweet several weeks ago after Mason High School near Cincinnati announced it was also doing away with the title for commencement next year, saying "This is so dumb. You're telling me competition doesn't bring out the best in people?"

Rep. Antani agreed and wants to eliminate the trend that's eliminating the top rank. "Look, we don't want to create a society where everyone gets a trophy. There are winners and losers. You learn things from winning. You learn things from losing," he said.

In central Ohio, HiIliard City Schools announced it's doing away with the valedictorian title starting with the 2022 commencement. Bexley and Worthington City Schools have already done so for years. In Dublin City Schools, every student who earns a grade point average of 4.1 or higher is recognized as class valedictorian. School leaders say dropping the single top spot helps reduce student competition, pressure, and stress.

"These past couple of years we've seen a trend where students are not taking the classes because they want to learn more about a subject," said principal Bobby Dodd of Mason High School. "They're taking the classes because of a weighted GPA they can receive."

Rep. Antani said the state is looking to add $350,000,000 in its next budget for social and emotional learning in schools. He said that should be the solution for student stress, not dropping top ranking rewards. His bill will be introduced this week and be assigned to a committee. He'll be asking quarterback Baker Mayfield to testify on the bill's behalf.

"We have kids in the seventh grade getting offers to play college football," Rep. Antani said. "I think these students can handle a little bit of competition."