Only one of them was "first place" and it was not my daughter. Anyone who gets at least a 4.0 gets valedictorian. One can get higher than 4.0, since each AP course that one takes gets one an extra .5 credits. They seem to have done away with the salutatorian in this area altogether as the policy commonly results in multiple valedictorians. My daughter ended up with 4.0. She got a B+ in AP chem last year (which was the highest grade in the school), but she also ended up with a B in Freshman English which other APs allowed her to evaporate. The girl with the highest gpa got special recognition during the ceremony for her 4.1, but hers was not the valedictory address. Instead they asked all of them to write speeches and then vote on which one would be delivered. I'm mildly skeptical of the practice, but Newsweek ranks this HS among the top 150 in the country, so I'm not overly concerned. (My other daughter's HS is ranked 1st.) Access to this caliber of school (for my kids and for myself) was one of the main reasons I accepted a job in this area.

I've always been a little more skeptical about the meaning of valedictorian anyway. For example, many kids don't take AP chemistry and so don't have the class where the highest score is a B+, opting instead to take AP psych where there are typically many As (and a slew of 4s & 5s on the AP test). This issue didn't start with the introduction of AP tests and it is more generalizable to the honor societies.

On the other hand, the school system here also offers distinctions on the diploma. You can get a regular diploma or an AP diploma. For the AP diploma you have to take an AP in each of several areas.