Dobyns-Bennett Students Recognized in National Merit® Scholarship Program

Published on September 12, 2018 at 11:42 a.m.

Kingsport, Tenn. – Seven Dobyns-Bennett High School students have been named as Semifinalists for the 64th Annual 2019 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 D-B are Matthew Barnicki, son of Scott and Brenda Barnicki, Brogan Beckner, son of James and Sherry Beckner, Julian Chastain, son of Jerry and Karen Chastain, Nikhil Chatra, son of Ashok and Shubha Chatra, Allison Glynn, daughter of Theodore and Bethanie Glynn, Rachel Rivera, daughter of Estuardo, and Tamara Rivera, and Grant Wilkins, son of Michael and Elizabeth Wilkins. These seven students will compete with the top high school students in the nation for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $31 million that will be offered in spring 2019.

Over 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 completion by taking the 2017 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.

"Having the opportunity to have seven National Merit Semifinalists as students is a significant honor," said Dobyns-Bennett High School Principal Dr. Chris Hampton. "These students certainly excel in the classroom, but are also role models and leaders in many other school organizations. We are eager to see what exciting opportunities await each student as they start navigating their educational paths beyond high school.  There is no doubt they will experience great success and are hopeful many will reinvest their talents back into the Kingsport community."

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 scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From approximately 16,000 students qualified as Semifinalists, about 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist standing, and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. National Merit Scholarships winners of 2019 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 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), LinkedIn (Kingsport City Schools) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).