Summa Cum Laude, wonderful or awful?

In Morton East, most students are satisfied with our current required GPA to be in Summa Cum Laude.  That being said, many who took the questionnaire weren’t aware of what it was. 

The Latin system (Cum Laude system) generally has 3 tiers. They vary in GPA’s. “Cum Laude” GPA estimates are 3.5 to 3.7. “Magna Cum Laude” GPA is 3.8 to 3.9. “Summa Cum Laude” is 4.0 and higher. However Morton East High School has Summa at 3.9 and higher. Summa Cum Laude meaning “with the highest distinction” in Latin. This year, Summa consists of 149 seniors. These 149 seniors will sit in the front rows during graduation, wear white gowns, have an extra ticket to graduation, and be priority for six flags tickets. Those who are in Summa got a skyward message.  From that time, there has been talks that the requirement is too high or too low.

In a survey, 100 random students were asked “Should the school raise or lower the GPA required to be in the Summa Cum Laude?” 55 of these students want to keep it the same at 3.9, 26 want to lower it, and 13 want to make it higher. 

“I think the GPA should be raised, at least a 4.0. I feel like it should be something more exclusive to students. 3.9 is letting too many students into Summa. It makes those who have earned a much higher GPA not feel special,” senior Karla Gomez said.

Another student feels differently.

“I think it’s a bad system because it’s unfair to those who have tried every year but their GPA isn’t rounded up like it’s supposed to be, it’s not fair for those who have gotten a GPA for two years and not the rest and so on. It should be lowered to a 3.5 at least,” senior Ariana Mendoza said.

Ariana also gave insight on cut-off exceptions.

“My friend had a 3.86 GPA and she asked if it could be rounded up, they agreed with the exception of her having straight A’s for this school year.”

Others don’t know what Summa is.

“I thought [Summa] was a mountain. Yes, the system is great because it is a good incentive for the students. GPA should be kept the same but I wonder why it’s not higher,” sophomore Krystal Zuniga said.

Once Summa is explained, both students agree that it’s a good system.

“I thought Summa cum laude was something about schools and colleges. It’s a good system because the students worked hard and they deserved it. It should be kept the same [3.9] because they’re all super cracked and smart,” senior Angel Soto said.

Teachers tell us about their experience concerning Summa activities.

“The dinner I was part of was before COVID, they had the students go for a nice dinner. They spoke about how proud they are about the students. They gave them a nice little gift to show appreciation as well. The students also get to graduate in white. Teachers are picked by students if the student feels that they made a big impact in their life, like this the teachers can honor those students as well,” calculus teacher Barbara Kane said.

Another teacher got invited but regretted a certain part of it.

“I was invited to the dinner one time; It was really a fine dining experience in downtown Chicago. But, all us teachers ended up just sitting together. The wild tables were the student tables; that’s where I should have sat,” senior teacher Kent Frankfother said.