A Southern California high school is reexamining a policy that, if not reversed, would not allow the class valedictorian to speak at graduation.
Scripps Ranch High School senior Toni Bronars will graduate next month with a 4.85 GPA.
A standout athlete in cross country and track, Bronars will head to University of California Berkeley on a full ride academic scholarship in the fall.
She credits “hard work” as the biggest difference maker in a tough, but successful four years which ultimately earned her the spot as class valedictorian.
Now her classmates are also working hard to make sure she gets to speak at their graduation ceremony in June.
Unlike many high schools, Scripps Ranch has a policy requiring all interested students audition for the right to be one of the commencement speakers - even the valedictorian.
The 18-year policy is designed to create an even playing field and equal opportunity for a commencement address.
When Bronars tried out and didn’t make the cut, it caused a campus uproar among graduating seniors who think the valedictorian deserves an automatic pass.
“She worked for four years to earn the right to speak at graduation and it's absolutely absurd they’re not letting her,” said SRHS senior Andrew Izzo.
“There definitely should be an exception," said SRHS senior Grace Keane.
An online petition started by a classmate quickly picked up hundreds of signatures over the Memorial Day weekend in support of the valedictorian speaking at graduation.
“I can't believe it, honestly," Bronars told NBC 7. "I’m overwhelmed and shocked and touched by the outpouring of support from the community and school.
“Obviously I tried out to speak, so I’d love to speak at graduation, that would be awesome, but no matter what, I’m just really honored that everyone cared so much and the administration is willing to reconsider a policy in place for so long."
Bronars is scheduled to meet with Scripps Ranch Principal Ann Menna Wednesday.
Menna is also working with student leaders to see if they’d like to make a revision to the school's policy, according to a San Diego Unified School District spokesperson.
Ed. Note: This article has been revised to correct the spelling of the student's name. We regret the error.