Fight Over Honors Cords May Keep Student From Graduation - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Fight Over Honors Cords May Keep Mt. Vernon Student From Graduation

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MOUNT VERNON, Ohio -

A high school standoff about an academic achievement may keep a Mount Vernon High School honor student from walking with her graduating class.

Senior Bethany Kelly will be graduating Sunday, but she is not sure she will be able to participate in the walk, because she wants to wear a gold cord from the National Society of High School Scholars.

The school restricts approved graduation cords to those earned as students of the school. As a result, Kelly is allowed to wear cords she earned from the National Honor Society.

"I think any nationally or even state-recognized award should be recognized at graduation. If they've earned it, and it's a prestigious award, they should have just as much right to wear it as if it was the National Honor Society," Kelly said.

The National Society of High School Scholars is a member-based organization with the mission of recognizing academic excellence.

NBC4's Ben Gelber took Kelly's concern to the high school policy superintendent Steve Short.

Short responded with an e-mail that, "High school policy and past practice allows students to only wear cords they have earned as Mount Vernon High School Students."

The policy was agreed upon by a council that included staff and students, after discussing the option to wear cords from another institution.

"I planned on wearing both the National Honor Society and the National Society for High School Scholars cords because they both look the same and they are both distinguished honors," Kelly said.

Kelly, who plans to major in criminal justice at Wright State University, said she is planning to walk with both cords on Sunday.

"[I'll] wear the cords that the school has given me, and try to wear … the cords and the medallion given to me by the National Society of High School Scholars," she said.

School officials responded, "We are proud and excited for our students when they earn special honors in their educational career, and that many of these achievements are recognized in the graduation program."

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