By Debbie Adams
Chloe Harrilla has been named Top Terrier at William Byrd High School for the 2021-2022 school year. The Top Terrier Award is a proud tradition at the high school and the single highest honor bestowed on a student at WBHS. It is awarded to a senior who is academically strong and involved in the school–someone who best exemplifies the qualities of integrity, loyalty, and courage of character, and who serves as a role model for everyone. According to William Byrd Principal Tammy Newcomb, the Top Terrier is a “person you immediately think about when you think of school pride.”
The announcement was made at a school-wide assembly in the football stadium on August 12, the opening day of school.
Newcomb described Harrilla as “a dedicated student and athlete with strong communication and interpersonal skills, who remains poised and grounded in stressful situations.” Academically, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her high school career and served as Junior Marshall at graduation for the Class of 2021.
She is a member of the WBHS volleyball team and an award-winning athlete in indoor and outdoor track and field. She was named the Indoor Track All State Athlete in 2021 in the 4 by 1 relay and the long jump. She also was named Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year for the Blue Ridge District in the spring of 2019 and Indoor Field Athlete of the Year for the Blue Ridge District in Winter 2019-2020. She is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and played travel volleyball with Roanoke United Volleyball from 2016-2019.
Harrilla won first place in the regional DECA competition in selling in 2018.
In addition to her studies and participation in sports, she has been employed since 2018 on the Child Care Staff at the Kirk Family YMCA, since 2015 with a professional cleaning and organizing company, in 2020 as a team member at Tropical Smoothie Café, and for the past year has been a patient screener at the Vistar Eye Center. She is also certified in CPR and AED.
Harrilla is the daughter of Sharon and Joe Harrilla.
Members of the Class of 2022 nominated five students for the award. Those students submitted resumes to the WBHS staff, who chose the Top Terrier. (The name of the Top Terrier remains a secret until the assembly each year.)
On August 12, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors were seated in the stadium as the seniors in the Class of 2022 entered the track for the Senior Walk to their seats in the Dog Pound section of the stands.
Newcomb welcomed the student body back for a new year, commenting that this was the first “normal” year for the freshmen class since they were in sixth grade due to the pandemic.
During the assembly Newcomb introduced the teachers who are sponsors for each class this year: Hannah Blais, senior class; Cherry Damasco-Farrington, junior class; Sherri Mays, sophomore class; and Lauren Keesling, freshman class, who all encouraged students to become active in school and extracurricular activities.
She introduced this year’s Dog Pound leaders, Madison Tuck and Landon Niday, who led the assembly in performing the traditional spirit song, the “Hum.”
Newcomb introduced SCA President Emily McCaskill, along with SCA officers Grace Saunders, Ella Ashworth, Claire Wray, and Lexie Aquino, and sponsor Madison Weisenborn.
Newcomb then invited several faculty members to the field to unroll the banner, revealing the name of the 2021-2022 Top Terrier.
The Top Terrier tradition began in the 2016-17 school year, established by Newcomb in her first year as principal at William Byrd.
Harrilla is the sixth WBHS senior to be honored as Top Terrier. The first Top Terrier in 2016-17 was Stephen Olsen, followed by Abby Spotswood in 2017-18, Megan James in 2018-19, Emily Nicely in 2019-20, and Dylan Hatfield in 2020-2021.