It’s not entirely unheard-of for disputes over high spots in highschool graduating lessons to escalate to litigation. The competitors over such accolades will be an intense, even ruthless, zero-sum sport. And within the combat to be valedictorian, there’s extra at stake than simply bragging rights. In Texas, the highest-ranking highschool graduates can receive free tuition for their first year at in-state public establishments.
Ms. Sullivan and her mother and father have been impressed by a case final 12 months in Pecos, Texas, about 100 miles from Alpine, the place two college students claimed to be valedictorian amid confusion over a “glitch” within the faculty’s tabulations. One of many college students — with skilled authorized illustration — filed for a restraining order and sought an injunction to dam Pecos Excessive Faculty from naming its valedictorian.
After Ms. Sullivan couldn’t get a lawyer, her mother and father have been disillusioned however prepared to drop the matter. However she refused. She bought recommendation and data from the household within 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 near being legal professionals,” Ms. Sullivan stated.
In Alpine, a city of roughly 6,000 individuals in Texas’s Huge Bend Nation, 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 school. (She plans to attend the Faculty of Charleston in South Carolina and main in biophysics with the goal of going into drugs.) However she had at all times been severe about faculty and a bit steely in her resolve.
“She’s already going to school, she already has scholarships,” stated Teresa Todd, an area authorities lawyer who’s a longtime buddy of Ms. Sullivan’s mom and whose sons are shut in age to Ms. Sullivan. “She labored actually arduous for this, and I believe all children should know the place they fall within the pecking order.”
“Children have to point out their work,” Ms. Todd added. “Why doesn’t the college have to point out their work?”
She stated she supplied some recommendation to Ms. Sullivan forward of her listening to: “Be herself. Be respectful. Don’t let the opposite aspect get you off your sport.”