William Byrd High School held its annual Honors Banquet at Braeloch in Vinton on May 6 for the Class of 2019.
Principal Tammy Newcomb welcomed the honors students and their parents for “a time to celebrate your accomplishments and refl ect on your years at William Byrd.” She challenged the Class of 2019 to “be the change our world needs, be involved in something bigger than you, and be thankful for the many blessings you have received.”
She introduced valedictorians Katie Dillon and Kennah Hebert who had been chosen by their classmates as speakers for the banquet. Assistant Principal Alan Moore, Newcomb, and Assistant Principal Marcee Cook recognized Distinguished Honor Graduates with cumulative grade point averages of 4.0 and above at the end of the fisemester as Valedictorians with certifi cates, accolades, and regalia to be worn at graduation ceremonies on May 21. Valedictorians include: Madeline Angle, Hunter Bohon, Sarah Burnett, Hallie Chewning, Kaitlyn Dillon, Morgan Fletchall, Megan Grant, Elizabeth Grey, Nicholas Hale, Preston Hall, Kennah Hebert, Abigail Ingram, Megan James, Ilene Kubik, Ellison Laff erty, Kathryn Letz, Leo Lin, Celine Matar, Anna McSherry, Lindsey Moore, Madelyn Nance, Marissa Pampley, Eva Pierce, Ashley Roop, Steven Sledd, Alexis Slusser, Maggie Steuart, Meghan Stinnette, Joyce Wang, Ellen Webb, Carmen White, Emily Woods, and Megan Wu.
Other Distinguished Honor Graduates with GPAs of 3.5 and above who were recognized with Honor Graduate gold tassels and other graduation regalia included: Th omas Adams, Jacob Altice, Sunyanna Anderson, Mitchell Archambo, Robert Ayers III, Jake Balsley, Blake Barksdale, Brooke Beeman, Bishop Buck, Holly Carraway, Tabitha Connell, Greyson Cornett, Bailey Coulter, Danny Cruff , Sam Dantzler, Kaitlyn Dickson, Colin Dooley, Tela Espelage, Ian Fielder, Jordan Henegar, Madison Hensley, Tanner Hough, Caleb Jones, Lindsey Jones, Jada Karnes, Brooke Lay, Carson Lilly, Austin Litchford, Caleigh Lucas, Shane McCarthy, John McMahon, Jakob Nakhle, Austin Nardo, Julie Nicely, Lydia Pagans, Ashley Peters, Gabriel Plichta, Logan Poff , Carley Ritter, Madison Saunders, Austin Schaubach, Kamdyn Settles, Rachel Smith, Tara Smith, Shea Sterling, Parker Strauss, Michael Th omas, Hannah Th, Kayla Turner, Lanaura Turner, Rachel Warren, Hannah Webb, Morgan Webb, Emily Wheeler, Katharine Williams, and Bradley Woodcock.
Each year, each department selects one outstanding senior who maintains good academic standards in that department, displays good character, and contributes constructively to the class, department, and school.
These students are recommended by teachers in the individual departments and their selection is based on a consensus vote by those teachers. Th e selections are revealed at the Honors Banquet. Department Award winners for 2019 are: Air Force JROTC: Triniti House Burton Center for Arts and Technology: Andrew Carter Art: Ashley Roop Band: Megan Wu Business: Kennah Hebert Choir: Tara Smith Drama: Katelyn Dillon English: Emily Wheeler Family and Consumer Science: Coy King French: Megan Wu German: Carmen White Latin: Austin Nardo Marketing: Meghan Stinnette Math: Leo Lin Physical Education: Rashard Stovall Photojournalism: Olivia Ard Science: Megan Grant Social Sciences: Megan Grant Social Studies: Madelyn Nance Spanish: Madelyn Nance Technology Education: Nicholas Cook
The final awards of the evening were for Best All Around Awards. These coveted honors are based fion academic success, good character and investment in school and community. The students have participated in a variety of academic and extracurricular activities. Selection is determined by faculty nomination and vote. Th e award comes with a check for $250.
Graduating seniors Megan Grant and Sam Dantzler were named Best All Around Girl and Boy for 2019. Kathryn Sowers from the Vinton Woman’s Club introduced Grant. “Th e Best All Around Girl for the Class of 2019 is an absolute All Star. She has excelled in the classroom and on multiple sports teams during her time at WBHS. She is a leader and a role model in every situation. She is loved and respected by faculty and peers, but perhaps her greatest attribute is her outstanding character. Though she has earned countless awards and honors, she remains humble and kind to everyone. “Academically she has earned straight As in the most challenging curriculum available in multiple areas including nine AP classes. She is a fantastic student who is always prepared for class and willing to work hard to achieve goals. Her GPA will be well above 4.0 when she graduates. “She is a phenomenal athlete and a great competitor in both basketball and softball for WBHS. She has earned eight varsity letters. Most years she has served as a captain on both teams. She has received All-Conference, All-District, All-Region, and All-State honors in both sports. “She received awards that acknowledged her leadership including an ‘Unsung Hero’ Award and an award for ‘Permanent Team Captain.’ She was a local Wendy’s High School Heisman winner and is our female B’nai B’rith nominee. In addition to countless hours spent on school sports, she has devoted many hours to travel sports as a player and has spent several seasons as a volunteer coach for a 12U softball team and a 12U basketball team as well as helping with the WBMS basketball team. “She is a member of multiple clubs and organizations and has served in leadership roles for many of them. She, herself, has said that her experiences in athletics and in the community have helped her to learn from losses and failures and turn that knowledge into improvements and successes. Her teachers and administrators count her as one of the most mature, responsible, and poised high school seniors they have known. “Th is fall she will be playing Division 1 softball and continuing her education at Elon University. Th e faculty is completely confi dent that she has everything it takes to be a huge success in academics, athletics, and, more importantly, in life.”
Denny Dickens from the Vinton Host Lions Club presented the Best All Around award to Dantzler. “Th is year’s William Byrd High School Best All Around Male is a remarkable young man who radiates positivity, inspiration, and compassion. He is a role model for his younger peers, a team player, a leader for his classmates, and admired by faculty. “Th is student excels in the classroom, community, and on the fi eld by demonstrating strong leadership, a love for learning, and a determined work ethic. Of all these great qualities, what makes this student stand out the most are his kindness, warm presence, and genuine nature. “Earlier this year, as part of a scholarship opportunity, he was nominated by faculty and voted by the Senior Class for exhibiting the qualities of dependability, leadership, service, and patriotism. Part of this scholarship opportunity had him compose a districtwinning essay, earning him a scholarship through our Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter. “He is a student who is passionate about his civic duty. As soon as he turned 18, he stood in line after practice to cast his vote. Service to his community is of the utmost importance. He is an active member of his church and youth group; feeding families for Thanksgiving with the local Rescue Mission, renovating houses for veterans, and volunteering on mission trips. He will also be remembered for his contributions to Boys State, DECA, our freshman mentorship program, and the BETA Club. “As a top student athlete, he has served as the varsity football captain both junior and senior year. His hard work and commitment have earned him several recognitions with All-District, All-Region, and All-State honors in football, and he is our B’nai B’rith nominee. He represents what it is to be a student athlete; academically successful and always demonstrating true sportsmanship on and off the field. Th rough all of these accomplishments, he always plays with integrity and remains humble. “All of his personal investments will leave a lasting mark on our Terrier community. We all hold a sense of pride knowing that he will continue to represent our community when he travels to Randolph Macon College in the fall to begin a new chapter in his life. He is truly one of a kind, centered, driven by his core values and not waivered by societal pressures.” Th e 2019 Senior Honors Banquet was organized and facilitated by Senior Sponsor Whitney Puckett. DJs were Matt Bartley, Choir Director at WBHS, and his wife, Shannon. Th e meal was catered by Chanticleer Catering