My wife Rita and I were high school sweethearts. This year marks our 58th anniversary of a fantastic marriage. We met and fell in love at the old William Byrd High School in Vinton. We were members of the class of 1960 and class of 1961. Byrd, as most graduates call it, was a great high school. We had some of the finest teachers in the valley. We both were involved in sports there and had some of the finest coaches. Our teachers and coaches worked hard and instilled in us the values that have made us successful adults, citizens and parents. We are pleased that Byrd is being renovated into apartments after having been misused for decades.
Just this week signs proclaiming it to be "Billy Byrd" have been erected. Many of us who graduated, some whose parents also graduated from Byrd, feel strongly that the name does not represent the excellent job that facility and its teachers did in educating tens of thousands of Roanoke area students. We and others feel that the name is an insult. It should have been named "The Byrd" or "Byrd" to more aptly bestow the honor due it as the well built structure on the hill and an excellent example of learning. We, and others, hope that the developers will drop the "Billy" part of the name and in doing so reflect the mature an honorable history of the facility. Some of us who were awaiting completion and considering residing there, feel insulted by the name and are having second thoughts about wanting to live there.