William Byrd High School Senior Megan James has been named Top Terrier for the 2018-2019 school year.
Principal Tammy Newcomb introduced her at an assembly first thing on the opening day of school on August 13. “The Top Terrier represents the qualities of a Terrier– a champion,” said Newcomb. “The selection of the Terrier represents a proud tradition at William Byrd High School. The Terrier is a source of inspiration for all throughout the school year and it is the highest single honor bestowed on a student at William Byrd.
“The Terrier is nominated by students, elected by the faculty, and recognized as the senior who best exemplifies the qualities of integrity, loyalty, and courage of character– one who serves as a model for everyone,” Newcomb said.
Students were nominated for the honor at the end of their junior year. Those nominated submitted a resume that was shared with the staff, which then voted to choose the Top Terrier. The tradition of Top Terrier originated with Newcomb in her first year as principal in 2016, making James the third student to receive this honor, following Stephen Olsen and Abby Spotswood. James has been an “A” Honor Roll student throughout her high school career. She received the Outstanding Academic Excellence Award from the President’s Education Awards Program.
She won the Leadership Award as a sophomore for varsity basketball, and the Academic Award in 10th and 11th grades for varsity basketball. She was selected for the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders. She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and a representative to the American Legion Auxiliary Virginia Girls’ State program. James is Student Council president and has served as captain of the JV volleyball and varsity basketball teams. She served on the Homecoming Court in her sophomore and junior years. Her extracurricular activities include varsity volleyball and basketball, the Student Council Association, the Prom Committee, and the Leo Club community service organization. She tutors students in the Math Pound and Byrd Buddies programs. Her lengthy list of community service activities includes working on the Veterans Day program each year, assisting with Freshman Orientation, and participating in the Christmas Toy Drive for Carilion Hospital, a book drive for local elementary schools, and putting together Kroger bags for those who receive free/reduced lunch over break. She has done fundraising for the American Heart Association, participated in Relay for Life as a freshman, sophomore, and junior, and assisted with the Angel Tree program for children and for adults. As part of the basketball team, she helped provide Christmas to a family with gifts of toys and clothing.
During the Top Terrier assembly, James thanked teachers, staff, and students for the honor of representing William Byrd High School and for their support. “Our school motto this year is ‘Be More Dog,’” said James. “What this motto means for us as students and members of our community is to not settle for ‘okay’ or average, but to push for something more. It means to be more involved and to work cooperatively instead of individually.” She urged her fellow students to “get involved in something,” to be supportive of others including being part of the WBHS Dog Pound— cheering on sports teams, going to band and speech and debate competitions, joining multiple clubs, supporting theatre by going to see school plays— all while making new friends.
“I can promise you aren’t going to regret being involved in school activities, but you just might regret not participating,” said James. “You will struggle trying to figure out what you want to do and where you fit in, but once you do, you will come out being your best self and will have made some of the closest friendships you will ever have,” was her advice to her fellow students. “Be kind to everyone,” she added. “That includes how you treat other students, teachers, staff members and others who live in the community. Kindness is contagious so let’s make sure that we spread that instead of harmful and toxic words and drama. “We can all make sure that all of us are proud to be Terriers,” said James. Megan is the daughter of Bobby and Teresa James.