Two Dobyns-Bennett Seniors Selected for ETSU Roan Scholars Program

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The Roan Scholars Leadership Program at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) has selected eight high school seniors to join the Roan Class of 2024, including two Dobyns-Bennett High School seniors Gavin Bentley and Sally Chikomb.


Bentley, the son of Phillip and Amy Bentley, attends D-B EXCEL and has used the field of robotics to learn, lead, and grow other leaders. Bentley is currently CEO of his high school’s underwater robotics team, which has competed at the international level. He shares his love of robotics as an intern at STREAMWORKS, a non-profit supporting K-12 STEM education. Bentley has received an award of excellence from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists and was named to the inaugural list of the Appalachian Highlands Twenty Under 20. He also practices tae kwon do and plays piano.


“Gavin has been much more than just a generator of ideas," said Shanna Hensley, principal, D-B EXCEL. "He has created a system of longevity for the programs he has founded… instilling processes and leadership within the younger students to take up the mantles for programs.”


Chikomb, the daughter of Kevin and Mary Whitaker, attends Dobyns-Bennett High School and is a four-year member and current captain of the award-winning Dobyns-Bennett Color Guard. She is actively engaged in numerous student organizations, including HOSA and Beta Club, and has participated in S.H.O.U.T Youth Leadership and the Y.E.L.L.! Mayor's Youth Council. She has worked to support an orphanage in Africa where her parents work, including raising $1,600 for school supplies.


“Sally does and will continue to make a lifelong impact on those around her,” says Sandi Nelson, school counselor at Dobyns-Bennett. “She will leave big shoes to fill. I look forward to seeing all the ways she will contribute to our world.”


“I am very excited for Sally and Gavin,” said Dr. Chris Hampton, principal, Dobyns-Bennett. "They work incredibly hard and are very strong students. They have both proven to be just as strong in their roles as school and community leaders. I have no doubt they will represent our school and community extremely well and will be valuable additions to ETSU and the Roan Scholar Program."


The Roan Scholars Leadership Program empowers students to be leaders of excellence who will positively impact the ETSU campus, the region, and the world. The Roan offers a comprehensive four-year program of out-of-the-classroom experiences and opportunities designed to challenge and inspire students to grow and develop as future leaders. The scholarship also includes a financial award for tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies.


The Roan, which is funded primarily by private donations, was established by Louis H. Gump in 1997. The first class of Roan Scholars entered in 2000; this year, “Roan 2020” celebrates the program’s 20th anniversary.


For more information, contact the Roan office at (423), or visit

Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice and an alternative learning program; with total enrollment over 7,700 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to Inspire. Cultivate. Impact.

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, download our mobile app for Apple / Android devices or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Twitter (@KCS_District), Instagram (@kcs_district), LinkedIn (Kingsport City Schools) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).


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