A valedictorian is an American and Canadian term that frequently denotes the student with the highest rank in a graduating class. He or she will deliver the "valedictory address" at graduation. The word is derived from the Latin for "saying farewell."
Though class rank is the traditional method for choosing the valedictorian, it is not the only one, and educational institutions have used a variety of other methods. In most cases, though, class rank remains an important criterion.