Mr. V.O. Dobbins, Sr.
LEGACY ERA CATEGORY (RETIRED 50 years or more from induction)
Known as “Festa” Dobbins, Mr. V.O. Dobbins, Sr. retired in 1966 from Kingsport City Schools after 31 years serving as coach, teacher, and principal of Douglass Elementary-High School. Mr. Dobbins, Sr. led the education of hundreds of Kingsport's African-American children prior to desegregation in 1966. With 40 years in education, Mr. Dobbins, Sr. began his teaching career in 1935 as a science and math teacher. He later became principal of Douglass in 1942 where he started a free lunch program to provide students food. Champion of the underprivileged, the very food provided to his students was grown from his personal garden. On June 8, 1966 Douglass School closed its doors and ceased operations, making it one of the last all-black schools in the region to close. Upon his retirement, Mr. Dobbins, Sr. witnessed 384 African-American students and 16 teachers integrate into KCS. The Douglass High School Alumni Association was formed to remind and lead school graduates and former students of the "Tiger Spirit '' which forever binds them with their African-American heritage in Kingsport. Mr. Dobbins, Sr., was also heavily involved in numerous organizations, most notably, the Kingsport Housing Authority, the NAACP, and the Central Baptist Church. In addition, Mr. Dobbins orchestrated the purchase of recreational grounds for black citizens of Kingsport and opened his home to young teachers. He was a true servant-leader, dedicated to his students and his community, aiming to bring social and economical equality to his community. The former Douglass School, now the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex was renovated and remodeled into Kingsport's multi-purpose facility housing non-profit organizations, a community space, and basketball courts. V.O. Dobbins, Sr., was posthumously elected to the KCS Hall of Fame in the Legacy Era Category (Retired 50 years or more from induction).