valedictorian

[val-i-dik-tawr-ee-uhn, -tohr-]
noun
a student, usually the one ranking highest academically in a school graduating class, who delivers the valedictory at the commencement exercises.

Origin:
1750–60, Americanism; valedictory + -an

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World English Dictionary
valedictorian (ˌvælɪdɪkˈtɔːrɪən)
 
adj
1.  saying goodbye
2.  of or relating to a farewell or an occasion of farewell
 
n
3.  (US), (Canadian) a person, usually the most outstanding graduate, who delivers a farewell speech at a graduation ceremony

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

valedictorian
1759, from valediction.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The review also referred incorrectly to the character who was a valedictorian.
She was an valedictorian of her high school and an engineering major.
Toward the end of the school year, it became apparent that several seniors were deadlocked in the race to become valedictorian.
The motion also did not expressly address the involvement of the valedictorian in the graduation ceremony.
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