By Debbie Adams
William Byrd High School recognized the accomplishments of the Class of 2021 at the Senior Honors Banquet on May 12. The ceremony and dinner were held in the main gymnasium at the high school.
WBHS Principal Tammy Newcomb welcomed the students and their parents. “Tonight we will recognize the accomplishments of the Class of 2021,” she said. “Thank you for being a class that truly embraced being a Terrier.”
Seniors Natalie Mullins and Keaton Band were named Best All Around Female and Best All Around Male for the WBHS Class of 2021. This is a coveted honor based on academic success, good character, and investment in the school and community. The awards are determined by a faculty nomination and vote and remain a secret until the honors banquet.
Department awards were also presented at the banquet. Each department selects an outstanding senior who maintains good academic standards in the department, displays good character, and contributes constructively to the class, department, and school. They are recommended by teachers and determined by a consensus vote by the department. The names of the department award recipients are not released until the night of the banquet.
Department Award recipients honored include:
- Art: Ashlyn Robinson
- Band: Nicholas Colvin
- Business: Nicholas Carter
- Choir: Bayla Kessler
- Drama: Ellen Frary
- English: Mathew Pampley
- Family and Consumer Science: Felicia Grace Davis
- German: Nicholas Colvin
- Latin: Athena Liao
- Marketing: Kasey McKee
- Math: Adi Iyer
- Yearbook: Natalie Mullins
- Physical Education: Jamie Cawley
- Science: Tyler Buxton
- Social Studies: Taylor Dawson
- Spanish: Caroline Dullaghan
- Technology Education: McCaffrey Simmons
Newcomb recognized several students with special awards:
- Dylan Hatfield was recognized as Top Terrier for the Class of 2021. “The Top Terrier is nominated by students, elected by the faculty, and awarded to the senior who best exemplifies the qualities of integrity, loyalty, courage of character, and who serves as a model for everyone,” said Newcomb. “This person values education as well as the traditions of the school.”
- Three seniors, Joey Sandzimier, Isaac Fix, and Taylor Dawson, received their Governor School cords for completing four years at the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School.
- Isaac Fix, Hunter Harris, Elizabeth Recktenwald, Dylan Hatfield, and Amna Becirevic were awarded the Blue Ridge District Academic Awards for having the highest GPA and the most awarded school letters.
- Hunter Harris and Elizabeth Recktenwald were recognized as the 2021 B’Nai Brith award winners for William Byrd High School. The B’Nai Brith awards are given each year to a male and female winner from among 19 schools in the Roanoke Valley. It is viewed locally as the area “Heisman trophy” of high school awards. The student-athletes are judged differently than most awards of this kind. The award is weighted 40-percent on athletic success, 40-percent on academic success and 20 percent on community service. Harris and Recktenwald will compete with the winners from the other 18 schools for the prestigious award.
- Faith Parrish was recognized for completing her Associates Degree at Virginia Western Community College while completing her high school diploma.
- Keaton Band and Caroline Gibbs were honored as the 2021 Dog Pound leaders. Each year the senior class nominates and votes for two students to lead the award-winning school-spirited, rowdy–but fun–student section known as the Dog Pound.
BETA Club members were recognized and presented with BETA Club certificates and pins. BETA Club is a national honor and service organization that has been a part of William Byrd since 1960. Students with a 3.75 GPA at the end of their junior year are invited to join the BETA Club. If a student decides to become a member, they participate in volunteer activities in the school and in the community. BETA Club members in the Class of 2021 who completed 10 hours of volunteer service also received a BETA cord to wear at graduation.
BETA Club members recognized in 2021 include: Brandon Acker, Urunna Anyanwu, Keaton Band, Amna Becirevic, Christopher Blankenship, Samuel Bunn, Sarah Butterworth, Tyler Buxton, Erin Courtemanche, Hallie Cox, Rachel Cruff, Grayce Dantzler, Olivia Darnell, Taylor Dawson, Kinsey Dollbert, Caroline Dullaghan, Catherine Dullaghan, Elizabeth Fedor, Isaac Fix, Preston Fleitz, Ellen Frary, Caroline Gibbs, Andrea Gonzalez, Cade Hanson, Hunter Harris, Dylan Hatfield, Seth Hodges, Hanna Howell, William Howell, Adi Iyer, Brooke Johnston, Bayla Kessler, Erin Kirtley, Autumn Krebs, Athena Liao, , Kasey McKee, Eh Tha Moe, Natalie Mullins, Faith Parrish,, Dillon Peters, Hailey Ramsey, Elizabeth Recktenwald, Emma Roberts, Charlotte Rose, Joseph Sandzimier, McCaffrey Simmons, Sarah Stanley, Annie Stevens, Emily Summey, Erin Taylor, Luke Taylor, Stella Taylor, Mya Travis, Reagan Tuck, Julie Wang, Katie Wheeler, and Madisin Witt.
Candidates for Valedictorian were announced. They include those who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 4.0 or higher during their high school years. In recognition of that accomplishment, each student was presented a Valedictorian Stole and Certificate as well as their Honor Graduate gold tassel and Advanced Diploma pin. (Students were reminded that once final GPAs are released, more valedictorians might be added to the list. Conversely, if a student’s GPA dropped below 4.0, they would not be able to graduate as a valedictorian.)
Valedictorians honored included: Urunna Anyanwu, Keaton Band, Amna Becirevic, Christopher Blankenship, Sarah Butterworth, Tyler Buxton, Erin Courtemanche, Grayce Dantzler, Olivia Darnell, Taylor Dawson, Caroline Dullaghan, Catherine Dullaghan, Elizabeth Fedor, Isaac Fix, Preston Fleitz, , Andrea Gonzalez, Cade Hanson, Hunter Harris, Dylan Hatfield, Hanna Howell, William Howell, Adi Iyer, Brooke Johnston, Bayla Kessler, Autumn Krebs, Athena Liao, Kasey McKee, Natalie Mullins, Mathew Pampley, Faith Parrish, Michelle Price, Hailey Ramsey, Elizabeth Recktenwald, Emma Roberts, Charlotte Rose, Joseph Sandzimier, Annie Stevens, Emily Summey, Erin Taylor, Mya Travis, and Reagan Tuck.
Distinguished Honor Graduates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher were recognized and presented with an Honor Gold Tassel. Those who earned an Advanced Studies Diploma also received a pin recognizing that accomplishment.
Distinguished Honor graduates for 2021 include: Alayna Abdelhadi, Brandon Acker, Christopher Beckner, Augustus Blake, Morgan Bohon, Morgan Booth, Kian Bradac, Samuel Bunn, Nicholas Carter, James Cawley, Nicholas Colvin, Hallie Cox, Rachel Cruff, Felicia Davis, Tyler Dean, Kinsey Dollberg, Gracie Fairbanks, Ellen Frary, Caroline Gibbs, Mason Gibson, Emily Hale, Ashlyn Harris, Kara Harvey, Seth Hodges, Andrew Jenkins, Carson Jernigan, Joseph Johnson, Erin Kirtley, Ryan Krawczyk, Andrew Kroese, Carson Leonard, Bryson Lutz, William Marsh III, Amelita Martin, Eh Tha Moe, Zachary Moore, Kaitlyn Morgan, Katelyn Morgan, Kassity Morris, Tyler Oliver, Jocellan Pearce, Dillon Peters, William Pickeral, Ethan Powell, Payten Richardson, Ashlyn Robinson, Kelsey Roth, Madison Saunders, Arielle Shiloh, McCaffrey Simmons, Kollin Slusher, Sarah Stanley, Luke Taylor, Stella Taylor, Haley Thomas, Megan Thomas, Autumn Thompson, Faith Turner, Julie Wang, Taylor West, Katie Wheeler, D’aja Williams, Dylan Wimmer, Madisin Witt, Morgan Witt, Hollie Yates, and Landon Young.
The Best All Around Male and Female awards were presented at the end of the evening. Each year the awards are presented by members representing organizations active in the community—the Breakfast Lions Club of Vinton and the GFWC Woman’s Club of Vinton. Winners were awarded a $250 scholarship.
Vicki Newburn from the Vinton Woman’s Club presented the Best All Around Female award.
“Our organization seeks ways to honor and thank our community workers for their contributions,” said Newburn. “We recognize those that serve all of us. We have enjoyed serving the Vinton community for many years and one of our favorite yearly endeavors is to present an award to the William Byrd Best All Around Female student.
“This year’s student has excelled in her academic achievements as an AP Scholar with Distinction, a member of the Beta Club; she was in the Gifted Program and she served as Junior Honor Marshall, all while maintaining a grade point average of 4.2.
“She has many leadership roles such as: SCA President, Team Terrier Mentor Program, editor of the Yearbook staff, the American Red Cross Club and the Roanoke County Student Advisory Council. Her list goes on to include the William Byrd Academic Team and the Chick-fil-a Leadership Academy.
“She plays on the school tennis team and works in her spare time as a nanny.
“She is dedicated to serving her community by volunteering for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey Booster Club and helping at Bedrock Roanoke Community Church working with children and participating in outreach programs.
“She is well respected among her peers and her teachers. It is with great joy that I tell you that Virginia Tech will be proud to welcome your Best All Around selection–Miss Natalie Mullins.”
The award for Best All Around Male was presented by John Dyer, first vice president of the Breakfast Lions Club of Vinton.
“We are proud to serve the community in all types of volunteer work and fundraising for local needs,” said Dyer. “On behalf of the Lions I am honored to recognize a student who has committed his high school years to serving William Byrd and his community with distinction.
“Our winner tonight has served in the Christian Athletics Club, the Prevention Club, Red Cross Club, Habitat for Humanity Club and the Chick-Fil-A Leadership Program.
“Our winner was an all-state athlete in Indoor Track, Senior Class President, Dog Pound Leader, and had a GPA of 4.3. He will be entering Virginia Tech this fall in their Neuroscience Program.
“To say that our winner made the best of his high school years is an understatement. Even more amazing considering the challenges of the pandemic. I am sure this is not a surprise to any of you, but the winner of the William Byrd Best All-Round Male is Keaton Band.”
The 2021 Senior Honors Banquet was organized and facilitated by Senior Sponsor Hannah Blais. The meal was catered by Sal’s.
Each Honor Graduate was asked to create a “Senior Board” with their pictures and accomplishments to share at the banquet. They were on display in the cafeteria.