By Debbie Adams
The 2022 Vinton Dogwood Queen will be crowned at noon on April 30 at the Municipal Building by Mayor Brad Grose. The queen and her court will then lead the Festival Parade from the Vinton War Memorial down Washington Avenue through the streets of downtown Vinton.
The Dogwood Court is made up of 10 seniors from William Byrd High School, nominated by the faculty. They are interviewed by a panel of judges the morning of the festival who then select the queen.
The young women vying for this year’s title of Dogwood Queen are Sela Beatty, Chloe Harrilla, Micah Kiker, Emilie McCaskill, Jenna Nicely, Jaylen Rosser, Mya Rosser, Ashlyn Stover, Madison Tuck, and Victoria Watts. This may be the first Dogwood Court to include a set of twins.
Sela Beatty is the daughter of Letitia Hawkins Beatty and Tim Beatty. She attends both WBHS and the Burton Center for Arts and Technology, studying in the Mass Communications Program at BCAT.
Her high school activities include the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), the Reindeer Club, Terrier TV, the Prevention Club, Student Voice, and Habitat for Humanity. She is a member of Class Council and a Raysac REAL team member. She is Senior Class President, Student Equity President, and Prevention Club President.
Beatty recently signed a letter of intent to continue her education and her athletic career in track at Radford University, where she plans to major in communications. She has gone All State in track and field five times in her high school years. She also competed in the Nike Nationals in Staten Island, New York.
Her hobbies are running, film making, volunteering, and painting. She recently won a Silver Key for one of her paintings “Rise and Shine” in the Southwest Virginia Regional Scholastic Art Competition. She has an Instagram page for her artwork @sela_presents_.
She serves as a gymnastics coach at Prestige Gymnastics Academy and is an intern with the Salem Red Sox as a production crew member.
Chloe Harrilla is the daughter of Sharon and Joe Harrilla. She was voted Top Terrier by the students and faculty at Byrd for 2021-2022, the highest individual honor a student can receive at WBHS.
She has served on Senior Class Council this year, is a member of Beta Club, the FCA, and DECA, and has been a member of the Student Council Association in her sophomore and senior years. She also served as a tour guide for rising ninth graders, and this year was an office runner. She earned the honor of Junior Marshal based on her grade point average in May 2021.
She has been a member of both the indoor and outdoor varsity track team in all four years of high school, and on the volleyball team in grades 10-12. She was named Blue Ridge District Runner of the Year for 2021-2022, an All-State Athlete in 2020-2021, and the 2019-2020 Indoor and Outdoor Field Event Athlete of the Year.
Harrilla has maintained several jobs during her high school years including working currently at the 310 Rosemont Boutique, YMCA childcare, and Isabel Martinez Cleaning and Organizing Services. In past years, she has been employed at the Vistar Eye Center as a COVID screener and at the Tropical Smoothie Café. She has also given her time as an elementary/middle school meet and youth volleyball camp volunteer.
She plans to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from James Madison University. After working to pay off her student debt, she plans to return to school to specialize as a Mental Health nurse.
Her hobbies include traveling, reading, writing, working out, Crossfit, painting, photography, cleaning and organization, and working in retail.
Micah Kiker is the daughter of Tosha and Joshua Kiker. Her high school activities include playing varsity lacrosse in ninth and 10th grades. She has been a member of Habitat for Humanity the past two years and served as president this year. She has been a DECA member throughout high school and is an officer this year. She is also a member of the Beta Club and the FCA.
She has been dancing with Floyd Ward for 15 years, is a member of her church youth group, and is employed as a manager at Chick-fil-A. She says she loves to travel.
Kiker plans to attend the University of Tennessee and major in Business Administration.
Emilie McCaskill is the daughter of Angela Peterson and Mark McCaskill. Her high school activities include playing varsity basketball for all four years, being captain this year and a 1000-point scorer. She has played varsity tennis throughout high school as well.
She is the Student Council President, FCA President, and a member of the Leo Club and Beta Club. She is also a youth intern at Vinton Baptist Church and an active member of the church serving on the Youth Leadership Team.
Her hobbies include running, playing basketball and tennis, traveling, organizing, and volunteering. She spent part of the summer of 2021 visiting two families in France she met through the Roanoke Valley Sister Cities Program. McCaskill says she learned French before she learned English, due to French au pairs who lived with her family when she was a child.
McCaskill plans to attend the University of Virginia to major in chemistry. Her goal is to attend medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon.
Jenna Nicely is the daughter of Randy and Sherry Nicely. Her high school activities include studying at the BCAT Early Childhood Education program in grades 9 and 10; and being a member of the DECA Club, the FCA, and Beta Club. She has been a member of the Leo Club all four years of high school and serves as president as a senior. She was a member of Teachers for Tomorrow as a junior and did a teaching internship at BCAT as a senior. She has completed teaching internships at East Salem and Herman L. Horn Elementary schools, at TAP Headstart, and is now at Bonsack Elementary.
She has volunteered at the Rescue Mission and the Keystone Community Center. She is involved in the Youth Stick Ministry drama group at Villa Heights Baptist Church. She also enjoys going to Liberty University football and basketball games.
Nicely was a member of the Homecoming Court as a senior and named Senior of the Week and Student of the Month.
She plans to attend Liberty University in the fall to pursue a teaching degree.
Jaylen Rosser is the daughter of Erica and Jonathan Rosser. Her activities at WBHS have included basketball, and indoor and outdoor track and field at the varsity level. She is a member of the Beta Club, the Leo Club, Habitat for Humanity, the NAACP Youth Council, and symphonic band. She has volunteered as a junior counselor at Apple Ridge Farm Summer Camp. She sings on her Youth Praise team at Garden of Prayer # 7.
Cooking is one of her favorite hobbies.
Jaylen plans to attend either James Madison University, North Carolina A & T University, or Virginia Tech to major in biology with the goal of becoming a dentist.
Mya Rosser is the daughter of Erica Rosser and Jonathan Rosser. Jaylen is her twin sister.
Mya has played varsity girls basketball and participated in track and field. She is a member of the FCA, Student Voice, the Leo Club, Habitat for Humanity, and the NAACP Youth Council. She has volunteered as a junior counselor at Apple Ridge Farm,
Her favorite pastime is cooking.
She plans to attend either Virginia Tech, James Madison University, or North Carolina A&T to major in kinesiology to become an athletic trainer.
Ashlyn Stover is the daughter of Lisa and Dwayne Stover. Her high school activities have included varsity lacrosse and basketball, the Beta Club, Leo Club, Habitat for Humanity, and the FCA.
Her hobbies are participating in church youth group weekly meetings, exercising, and spending time with her family and friends.
Her future plans include attending a four-year college, getting a job, volunteering in the community, and teaching children how to play lacrosse.
Madison Tuck is the daughter of Mark Tuck and Amanda Trent. In high school, she has played varsity softball and participated in varsity track and field. She is the leader of the school DogPound and a member of the DECA Club, Beta Club, and the FCA.
Her hobbies include softball, track, hiking, devotionals, working out, and going to church. She enjoys working with children in the community by giving hitting and defensive softball lessons.
She recently signed a letter of intent to continue playing softball at the next level at Liberty University. Her plan is to major in exercise science or elementary education.
Victoria Watts is the daughter of Brent and Vicky Watts. Her activities in high school include three years of varsity cheerleading and two years of competition cheer. She has been a member of the Byrd Buddies, Student Council, Leo Club, Beta Club, DECA (where she has been an officer for two years) and was a member of the Homecoming Court in 2018.
She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, working with children, supporting WBHS sports, and spending time with friends. Watts says she loves traveling to different countries to experience new cultures.
She is currently employed by Carilion Wellness-Botetourt as a nursery attendant. She enjoys attending DECA leadership and business competitions and most recently placed 4th overall in her category representing William Byrd High School in Districts.
She has also volunteered with organizations and charity events such as Relay for Life, the Heart Walk, “Pack the Bus” collecting school supplies for children in need in the Roanoke Valley, and “Battle-at-Byrd Cheer4acure” fundraisers for cancer research.
Her future plans are to attend James Madison University (where she has been accepted) to pursue a degree in nursing with the hopes of becoming a Registered Nurse in the pediatric field.