Edgewood Academy’s Class of 2020 learned to value the little things.

Principal Jay Adams, valedictorian Katie Roberts and salutatorian Sydney Brown took a look back at a unique school year that impacted the school’s 25 graduating seniors who graduated at a socially-distanced ceremony last week.

“The biggest thing they learned is to not taking anything for granted,” Adams said. “The thing you are griping about today you are going to miss if it’s taken away tomorrow.”

Adams said the abbreviated school year showed the students how fast life can change.

“The idea you have to value every second because you do not know what tomorrow will look like — ever,” Adams said.

Katie Roberts, the school’s valedictorian and daughter of Brian Roberts and Holly Christian, said the school’s shutdown caused her to realize all opportunities are special.

“For me, I know missing out on those things in senior year makes me want to take advantage of future opportunities more and to really live life to the fullest,” Roberts said.

As for not having the chance to experience senior prom or a spring break trip, she thinks it taught everyone in the Class of 2020 to be more appreciative.

“Missing those things has really taught all of us to appreciate what we do have,” she said.

Roberts has attended the school for 13 years and said Edgewood has a family environment.

“It really is a family,” she said. “Thirteen years is a long time. I’ve spent most my life here.”

Roberts will attend the University of Alabama and pursue a medical degree.

Salutatorian Sydney Brown, daughter of David and Amy Brown, shared Roberts’ sentiments regarding how COVID-19 altered their senior year.

“Never take a moment for granted,” she said. “You’ll never know when will be the last time you walk the halls of school. Everything happens for a reason. I believe that very strongly and that everything works out.”

Brown said her main approach to learning involved dedication and hard work.

“Salutatorian never was really my goal,” she said. “I just knew I wanted to work hard and it was my personal goal all the way through school to do good because it made me feel achieved. I never worked for the awards or recognition.

“If it’s not your goal to make good grades, you’re not going to achieve it. It really takes sacrificing something. In the end, it is totally worth it if it is your goal.”

Brown echoed Roberts’ sentiments and said she will miss the family atmosphere of the school.

“This is a very tight-knit school,” Brown said. “Everyone you see in the hallway, you know their full name. You feel comfortable talking to anybody here. I love that.”

Brown will attend Troy University and major in psychology.

Adams summed up Edgewood’s Class of 2020.

“This is a very resilient bunch of kids,” he said. “They are also a metric ton of fun. They are a blast in the classroom. Every single day they are a fun bunch of kids which makes the job very easy when they make you laugh every day.”

Editor’s Note: Stories on Elmore County Schools’ valedictorians and salutatorians ran in last week’s Herald.