‘Roller coaster of emotions’: Salutatorian controversy concludes

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 12:27 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2023 at 5:02 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An Evans High student is glad to learn she won’t be stripped of her salutatorian status at graduation.

The news brought to a close a controversy that has stirred up conversation online and on the streets this week in Columbia County.

Courtlyn Myers was set to be salutatorian, but that position was threatened this week by a surprise underclassman graduating early.

The surprise shocked many in the community, and Courtlyn’s dad even went to the Columbia County school board meeting Tuesday to express his frustration, but the district decided there’s room enough for two salutatorians at Evans High.

“They pulled us out of class this morning to tell us so you told both salutatorians and the valedictorian individually, and it was really exciting,” Courtlyn said Wednesday. “It was really great because it brought us to the principal’s office and let us know that there was going to be two salutatorians this year. And yeah, it was great news.”

Her father, Corey, is happy with how the school district handled it.

“We definitely didn’t want to take away from the other child,” he said. “She’s equally as deserving. I mean, great kid, you know, so we think that they did the right thing.”

He learned last week of the possibility that his daughter might not be the salutatorian, as she’d thought.

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The father of an Evans High student was glad to learn that his daughter won’t be stripped of her salutatorian status at graduation.

“Last Wednesday, about 8 o’clock in the morning, I received a call from the Board of Education, telling me that, ‘We don’t want you to be surprised when you get to the honors award ceremony the next day, and your daughter doesn’t have that spot,’” he said.

“Obviously I was hurt and upset. But you still have to be professional in the way you handle and I said, ‘Let’s just deal with the facts.’ So that’s what I did,” he said. “I filled out the required forms to attend the board meeting and then when I went in, I just had my facts already stated. I had their policies already and where the loopholes were in the policies, and I just pointed those out.”

He feels he did the right thing.

“We’ve seen this kid wake up early, go to school early ... redo tests, stay late,” he said.

“It’s just been, you know, all consuming. That’s what she does. And so it’s definitely we definitely knew that we had to fight ... after we’ve seen all the years of hard work that she’s put in.”

But now the battle is over.

“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions to say the least,” he said. “So we’re just glad that it’s kind of getting ready to end and we can enjoy you know, the rest of the the weeks before graduation.”