It shouldn’t be totally unheard-of for disputes over high spots in highschool graduating lessons to escalate to litigation. The competitors over such accolades might be an intense, even ruthless, zero-sum sport. And in the struggle to be valedictorian, there may be extra at stake than simply bragging rights. In Texas, the highest-ranking highschool graduates can obtain free tuition for his or her first yr at in-state public establishments.
Ms. Sullivan and her mother and father have been impressed by a case final yr in Pecos, Texas, about 100 miles from Alpine, the place two college students claimed to be valedictorian amid confusion over a “glitch” in the varsity’s tabulations. One of the scholars — with skilled authorized illustration — filed for a restraining order and sought an injunction to block Pecos High School from naming its valedictorian.
After Ms. Sullivan couldn’t get a lawyer, her mother and father have been disenchanted however keen to drop the matter. But she refused. She received recommendation and information from the household in the case in Pecos, utilizing the petition in that case as a information to begin writing her personal. Her mother and father — her father, a rancher; her mom, a forensic interviewer — learn it over and helped her tidy up the language.
“We aren’t even close to being lawyers,” Ms. Sullivan stated.
In Alpine, a city of roughly 6,000 individuals in Texas’s Big Bend Country, some who know Ms. Sullivan stated they have been stunned she would take this on. There are different methods to spend one’s final summer time earlier than faculty. (She plans to attend the College of Charleston in South Carolina and main in biophysics with the goal of going into medication.) But she had all the time been critical about college and a bit steely in her resolve.
“She’s already going to college, she already has scholarships,” stated Teresa Todd, a neighborhood authorities lawyer who’s a longtime good friend of Ms. Sullivan’s mom and whose sons are shut in age to Ms. Sullivan. “She worked really hard for this, and I think all kids deserve to know where they fall in the pecking order.”
“Kids have to show their work,” Ms. Todd added. “Why doesn’t the school have to show their work?”
She stated she provided some recommendation to Ms. Sullivan forward of her listening to: “Be herself. Be respectful. Don’t let the other side get you off your game.”