Smithson Valley High School crowned wrong student valedictorian after mistaken hand calculation

Comal County ISD corrected error, student’s mother says she lost out on scholarships

Comal ISD’s Smithson Valley High School class of 2022 has a new Valedictorian, Ava Roat. District administrators have apologized to Ava for a miscalculation which initially placed her as salutatorian of the class of 706 graduates. (Comal County ISD)

COMAL COUNTY, Texas – A miscalculation discovered after Smithson Valley High School’s graduation ceremony has led to a change in rank for the salutatorian.

Ava Roat has been declared the new valedictorian of the 2022 graduating class.

Comal County Independent School District administrators apologized to Ava for the miscalculation, which initially tapped her as the salutatorian of the class of 706 graduates, according to a press release.

The error occurred after a hand calculation was made to determine the class rank.

“Comal ISD calculates official rank twice a year; in January following the completion of the first semester and in June, following the completion of the second semester,” the press release states.

The hand calculation was used prior to the May 28 graduation ceremony and the error was discovered in June when the system officially calculated student class rankings.

“The calculation of rank has been corrected to reflect that she is indeed Smithson Valley High School’s highest-ranking graduate,” said acting superintendent of schools for Comal ISD Mandy Epley.

Roat was still able to give a speech at the graduation ceremony as the salutatorian but she missed out on some scholarships that are typically awarded to top graduating Texas seniors, the teen’s mother, Julie Roat, told the Herald-Zeitung.

To find out that your work did come to fruition in a way that is really financially impactful, and that I can no longer use that scholarship because I was forced to forfeit it (is disheartening),” Ava told the paper.

Ava graduated with 63 college hours thanks to dual credit classes and also volunteered, in addition to working part-time.

“I’ve always been driven academically. I look at my parents who have modeled the value of hard work. I don’t ever want to settle for anything but the best that I can give,” Ava said.

She plans to attend Baylor University in the fall and will major in biology and Spanish, the press release states.

Ava said she will be attending medical school following her undergraduate degree and wants to use her Spanish degree to help patients feel more comfortable speaking in their native language.

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.