Dobyns-Bennett High School Students Recognized in National Merit Scholarship Program

KINGSPORT, TENN. – Four (4) Dobyns-Bennett High School students have been named as Semifinalists in the 69th Annual 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program, a program designed to identify and honor the top high school students in the United States.

Those named as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists from Dobyns-Bennett are:
  • Alexander Batts
  • Charles Deng
  • Ryan Venett
  • Evelyn Yang

These four students will compete with the top high school students in the nation for approximately 7,100 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $28 million that will be offered in spring 2024.

"We are very proud and impressed with these four amazing students," said Dobyns-Bennett High School Principal Dr. Brian Tate. "This recognition matches the high-quality performance they've shown throughout their time in school. We look forward to the great things they will do during their senior year and their future after high school."

High school juniors entered the 2024 competition by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screening of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his/her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which information is provided regarding the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school/community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors/awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Over 16,000 students qualified as Semifinalists, about 95 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist standing (notified in February), and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. National Merit Scholarship winners for 2024 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July.

For more information on the National Merit Scholarship Program, please contact the Dobyns-Bennett High School Counseling Office at (423) 378.8409 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 a total enrollment of over 7,900 students. 

KCS has been ranked the "#1 Best Place to Teach in Tennessee" by the 2023 NICHE Best Schools Ranking and the City of Kingsport has been voted as the "Nicest Places in America" in the October 2022 Reader's Digest.

For more information visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, or call the KCS Administrative Support Center at (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (kcsdistrict), Instagram (kcs__district), Twitter (@kcs__district), LinkedIn (kcsdistrict), and check out our YouTube Channel (@kcs__district).