Bradley was salutatorian for Lakeside's class of 2018, and made a speech at commencement, though she had not attended classes there during her last two years. The class valedictorian never attended a class at the school.
Having dual-enrollment students fill the class's top positions is becoming more common as students earn college credit while still in high school through the state's "Move On When Ready" program. Law was amended last year to include dual-enrollment students who had been left out of the running for valedictorian or salutatorian due to technicalities, including the amount of time spent in high school classrooms.
DeKalb school district officials said last week that the valedictorian and salutatorian were eligible for the honors, having followed state rules that stipulate a student must be enrolled at the school prior to their junior year.
Todd Harris, Bradley’s stepfather, said dual enrollment allowed Bradley to make the most out of the time spent in high school.
He agreed, though, that Move On When Ready is flawed. It seemed students could easily take college classes just to boost their class status.
“Back in the day, the valedictorian used to mean the best student,” he said. “Now, it means something else. You can game the system … The thing that concerns me is that if there’s … a movement … to make your child valedictorian.
“Adrina didn’t do that.”
Bradley said she is headed to the University of Georgia in the fall, to study either international relations or education administration. Dual-enrollment, she said, allowed her to take internships and gain more experience than she would have in a traditional classroom environment.
“It gave me so much time to do what I’m excited about,” Bradley said of the dual-enrollment schedule. “I wish more students would do it.”