Two Dobyns-Bennett Students Advance to National Level of Presidential Scholarship Program

Published: February 9, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. 

KINGSPORT, Tenn.Dobyns-Bennett High School seniors Alexander Caviness and Theresa Cahill have been selected to apply for the annual United States Presidential Scholars program, competing with top high school students nominated across the country.  Alex is the son of John Caviness and Sabrina YuTheresa is the daughter of John and Paula Cahill.  

“The Presidential Scholar Award is one of the most distinguished awards a high school student can earn.  To have two D-B students as Tennessee finalists is an honor for the school and a recognition to be celebrated for Alex and Theresa,” said Dr. Chris Hampton, principal, Dobyns-Bennett High School. “These two students have worked very hard during their time at Dobyns-Bennett and have taken extremely rigorous classes.  I have no doubt Alex and Theresa will represent Dobyns-Bennett, Kingsport, and Tennessee exceptionally well as they continue on into the selection process."

Established in 1964 by executive order of the President, the program recognizes and honors the nation's most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in academic success, leadership and service to school and community. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrated exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. Annually, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

Application is by invitation only. Students are invited to apply based on their scores on the SAT or ACT exam or their nomination by a Chief State School Officer, the year of their graduation from high school, and whether they are U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent U.S. Residents. Students who qualify will automatically receive applications. Applicants are then narrowed to 560 semifinalists, ultimately then determined as a recipient or not.  Important milestones for remaining steps of the selection process include nominees completing the national Presidential Scholars application (February), semi-finalists being announced (April), and national winners being announced (May). 

Students chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in June for National Recognition Weekend featuring various events, enrichment activities and culminating in the presentation of the Presidential Scholars Medallion during a White House sponsored ceremony. During their visit, Scholars have access to important national and international figures, including government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished people.

For more information about the Presidential Scholars program, please contact the Dobyns-Bennett High School Counseling Office at (423) 378.8409 or

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 and a non-traditional school; with total enrollment over 7,100 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to be, Student Focused … World Class.

KCS has been named the top school district in Tennessee as winner of the 2014 SCORE Prize District Award by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and has earned the 2014 Achievement Award in the annual Excellence in Tennessee Recognition Program by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNPCE).

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FMThe Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Twitter (@KCS_District) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).