Student blaming school district for ruining chance at scholarship

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A valley student thought she was the Shadow Ridge High School valedictorian, but not so fast.

“I’ve gotten straight A's ever since I started high school,” said Krystal Zawisca.

Zawisca put in the effort hoping to get some recognition.

“It kind of crushed my dreams when I found out a few months ago,” said Zawisca.

The Dysart Unified School District doesn't recognize or name a valedictorian, something Zawisca didn't know when she started high school.

District spokesperson Jim Dean said five years ago the district changed things up to follow a national trend.
“It's an opportunity for us to honor the top 1-percent of the class,” said Dean.

Under this policy more students can be honored.

But the policy has Zawisca afraid her scholarship applications will be overlooked.

“When applying for scholarship, people look for something that stands out. If you say I’m valedictorian that jumps off the page,” said Zawisca.

While Zawisca argues the title matters for college money, Dean disagrees.

“We're in contact with universities constantly. We have the assurance; we know how universities use placement in terms of determining scholarships in terms of academics,” said Dean.

Dean said it's really about class ranking when it comes to scholarships.

Zawisca said even though she ranks number one in her class, she says this policy could prevent others from trying as hard as she does.

“People work for achievement, you're not going to work for something if you don't get anything out of it,” said Zawisca.

In a check around the Valley, we found Mesa Public School also does not honor their valedictorian, however, the Phoenix Union High School District does.