I   f you read The York Dispatch on Tuesday, you might recall a stand-alone section titled "Academic All-Stars" was included.

This newspaper has been publishing for at least 20 years what amounts to a nifty pat on the back to those graduating high school seniors in York County who performed well academically -- well enough to place in the top-10 of their graduating classes.

It's an honor.

And these students worked awfully hard to earn what little public recognition they get for taking their education seriously.

What it amounts to, really, is all-star recognition for placing the same sort of value on learning that other students place on football, basketball and a host of other sports and extracurricular activities.

Every York County school district, except Hanover, participated in the publication of its academic all-stars this year. Add to that the Christian School of York, York Catholic High School, Northern and Red Land high schools, the York County School of Technology, York Country Day School and the York Home School Association and we've pretty much touched all the bases as it pertains to public and private education in York County.

The goal, obviously, is to give high academic achievers a moment of recognition, their day in the sun.

If you took the time to read the publication from front to back, you might have realized there were 181 of the best and brightest students York County had to offer this year -- their photos, their bios, their parents' names and their career dreams listed for the whole world to see.

It is, for many families, the best refrigerator art they've ever had. It means something. It matters. All the hard work has paid off. It was worth all the effort.

You might also have noticed, however, that the girls kicked butt this year. Two out of every three students listed are young women.

Now I don't mean to suggest that most of the male students in York County are a bunch of slackers ... but, well, they clearly have been underachieving when it comes to academics.

Or the girls have been overachieving. Take your pick.

Fifty-nine of the 181 Academic All-Stars listed this year are young men. Or we can look at it another way -- a more positive approach, perhaps -- by saying 122 of the 181 highest ranked students were young women.

Is this simply an extension of American Idol, where the last six contestants this season were all women? I don't know.

Maybe it's the Year of the Woman, and nobody bothered to tell any of us. I don't know about that, either.

All I know is when it comes to brain power, York County girls are sticking it to the guys, and then some. As dominance goes, this is a remarkable showing of girl-power.

I don't recall it being that way in the past. But maybe it was, and I just didn't notice. I mean if that's true, how long has this been going on? Or has it always been the case that girls have been smarter than the guys?

I'd like to be able to recall if that was the case in my graduating class, but 1966 was a long time ago. Alas, I can't remember who the 10 best students were in my class at West York. All I know is I wasn't one of them.

But I'd like to think at least five of the 10 were guys. If I could find my high school yearbook, I'd try to look it up. Alas, I can't find that, either.

Of the 20 public and private schools listed in the 2013 "Academic All-Stars," only two had more boys than girls -- York Country Day School had four boys out of seven listed, and Central York High School had six boys to three girls on its list.

South Western High School and The Christian School of York split five and five. The York Homeschool Association split evenly -- one boy and one girl.

In every other case it was two boys out of 10, or three boys out of 10 and a couple with four boys out of 10.

There was one school, however -- York Catholic High School -- that had not a single boy in its top-10 smartest students. Zip. Zero for 10.

C'mon guys, we can do better than that. Can't we?

How is it possible that perhaps the best academic program in York County -- I'm basing that solely on the 92 percent-plus of graduating students at York Catholic who go on to college, the best in York County by a mile -- has not one boy smart enough to keep up with the girls?

What are all these young women doing that we might be able to bottle and share with the guys?

Is it that the girls are smarter than the guys? Is it that they're more mature than the guys their own age? Is there something genetic going on here? Hey, it's got to be something, because we're pretty much all drinking the same water here in York County.

All I know is the girls rule.

This year, at least.

Sixty-seven percent of the best and brightest students in York County in 2013 are young women.

The guys can't even argue the point.

It's all there in black and white for the whole world to see.

Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail: lhick s@yorkdispatch.com.