Three Dobyns-Bennett Students Advance to National Level of Presidential Scholars Program

Published on January 30, 2018
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Dobyns-Bennett High School seniors Karli AilshieJohn Lewis Corker and Kate Tolleson have been selected to apply for the annual United States Presidential Scholars program, competing with 4,500 of the top high school students nominated across the country. Karli is the daughter of Dr. Lyle and Vanessa AilshieJohn Lewis is the son of Cliff and Alice CorkerKate is the daughter of John and Ginette Tolleson.  

"It is an extreme honor and rare occasion for a public school to have three candidates for the prestigious Presidential Scholars Program. I can't recall a year when Dobyns-Bennett had three students to qualify," said Dr. Chris Hampton, Dobyns-Bennett High School Principal. "Karli, John Lewis, and Kate represent Dobyns-Bennett, Kingsport City Schools, and the City of Kingsport in many remarkable ways. They are all excellent students, but also outstanding leaders and people of character. It will be a privilege to endorse them and a pleasure to watch them grow through this 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. In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields. Annually, up to 161 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 narrowed to 560 semifinalists and then ultimately determined to be a recipient or not.  Important milestones for remaining steps of the selection process include nominees completing the national Presidential Scholars application, 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.

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 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 (TNCPE).

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), LinkedIn (Kingsport City Schools) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).