Dobyns-Bennett High School

Dobyns-Bennett High School Hosts “Tribe Games”

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We are student focused…

“Student Focused … World Class.”  That’s the vision statement of Kingsport City Schools and serves as the context for all that occurs within the district.  However, every now and then, a particular program or activity seems to jump out and perfectly illustrate that vision.  When it comes to “student focus,” The Dobyns-Bennett “Tribe Games” certainly stands out.

During the past school year, students and staff at D-B were troubled with the reality that students with significant disabilities typically don’t get involved with organized athletics.  Seeking to remedy that situation and provide a positive experience for students and the community, D-B Special Education teacher Jimmy Burleson started the Tribe Games, an inclusive competition in bowling, swimming, and track & field.  Students with disabilities from D-B, Sevier and Robinson Middle Schools, Johnson Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary participated, with support from a wide variety of KCS students volunteers, staff, and community members.

It’s also exciting to see is how the greater Kingsport business community has begun to support this incredible program.  Sponsors like the KCS Special Education Department, Food City, O’Charley’s, Jersey Mike’s, Zaxby’s, Chick-fil-a, and the D-B Athletic Department all supported events through contributions and donations.  As Tribe games moves into its second year during 2014-15, it’s expected that even more organizations will take part.  The involvement of the entire Kingsport community was a large part of why the event was so successful.

Year one of the Tribe Games was a smashing success and provided a fun, safe, and supportive competitive environment that was truly student focused.  Any KCS student with a disability is encouraged to participate this next year, as organizers look to build on the success of year one.  It is a terrific example of how the staff and students of KCS work together to provide high quality activities and encouragement to all.

We are student focused… We are KCS!

Dobyns-Bennett Students “Pay it Forward”

We have a heart for service…

It is said that the true character of a person is demonstrated when no one is watching.  If that is the case, than a group of young ladies at Dobyns-Bennett have set a bar that we all should strive and hope to reach.

Following an economics class on poverty during their Junior year, these ladies felt called to served economically disadvantaged students at D-B that might be missed by local service agencies.  Knowing that navigating through high school can be difficult enough, they wanted to do what they could to help their fellow students who’s families might be struggling financially.  Thus, “Pay it Forward” was born.  Over the next year, they worked to support students whose high school experience might be limited due to financial issues.

It was certainly a noble cause that made a tangible difference in the lives of many D-B students.  But here is the amazing, and likely most impressive part of the story… the entire project was done anonymously.  Mailboxes were placed within D-B and students were encouraged to anonymously suggest names of classmates so that no one would feel awkward requesting help.  The names of students or families in need were referred to appropriate individuals and agencies for help.  Assistance was provided quietly with students’ feelings in mind.  High school can be hard enough, as it is.

When word about Pay it Forward did come to light, community members quickly rose to support the cause.  Brothers Scot and John Franklin, owners of the Fort Henry Drive Subway, held two fundraising events over the course of the 2013-14 school year.  Over $670 was raised to support the efforts of Pay it Forward, with all funds donated to the Clothes Closet for needed shoes and clothing.  Dozens of shoes, tops, and pants were purchased for students in need.

And who were the young ladies that imagined, created, and facilitated the “Pay it Forward” project?  Nope… that’s anonymous, as well.  You see, it was important to these young ladies that their work remain behind the scenes, as they wanted neither credit or personal recognition for their work.  They simply desired to serve their classmates in whatever way they could… To make a positive difference in another’s life so that they could have the same type of high school experience that these young ladies were blessed to have.

We may very well never know the identities of these D-B students that did so much for their classmates, but the results of their work can be seen in the positive impact on the lives of many others.  For these young ladies, that is reward enough.

We have a heart for service… We are KCS!

Dobyns-Bennett 2014 Graduates Excel


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We excel…

Saturday, May 24, 2014 dawned bright, sunny, and unseasonably cool in Kingsport, as 427 Dobyns-Bennett graduating seniors awoke to a day of excitement and celebration.  Graduation day at D-B is always a joyous occasion, as graduates and families gather to recognize student achievement and success.  This year’s event was no different, as another fantastic D-B class brought a successful close to their high school careers.

After a review of the data, to say this was a “successful” graduating class actually turns out to be quite an understatement.  In preparation for his commencement address, D-B Principal Dr. Chris Hampton did some research regarding the accomplishments of this particular class.  The results are nothing short of astounding.  The Class of 2014 contained:

  • Three National Merit Finalists
  • Two National Merit Commended Students
  • A Presidential Scholar Semifinalist
  • 85 Tennessee/Virginia Scholars
  • 93 Graduates of Distinction
  • An appointment to the United States Air Force Academy
  • Multiple commitments to the United States Armed Services
  • Four students with perfect attendance for all four years of high school
  • Over a dozen Career and Technical state-level winners and national qualifiers
  • Over 50 conference, district, and regional athletic titles
  • Multiple state athletic champions
  • A student with a perfect score on the ACT

But it doesn’t stop there.  This year’s graduating band class has been described as one of the most successful in the history of Dobyns-Bennett, having performed on some of the biggest stages in the country.  Their credits include performances for both the Governor and President, having marched at Neyland Stadium, in the Tournament of Roses and Macy’s parades, and at the Presidential Inauguration.

The quality of this year’s graduates has certainly been noticed, both near and far.  As an indicator of their success and future potential, the Class of 2014 has been offered the staggering amount of over $10.2 million in scholarship money to date.  This is the largest recorded amount of scholarship offerings for a graduating class since this data has been collected and speaks volumes about their achievement and potential for the future.

It is a class to be celebrated.  We look forward to seeing what great things lie in these students’ futures and trust that the experiences gained at D-B have prepared them well for the path in front of them.  The Class of 2014 epitomizes the definition of the phrase “World Class,” and with excitement and confidence, wish them well.  Once an Indian… Always an Indian!  #RollTribeRoll

We excel… We are KCS!

Tennessee Titan Coty Sensabaugh Gives Back to Kingsport

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We give back…

In the long and storied history of Dobyns-Bennett High School, there have been countless graduates that have developed their personal talents and gone on to great professional success. Take a glance through the list of D-B alumni, and you’ll quickly discover some of our nation’s finest and most successful individuals. You’ll find the likes of business leaders, military generals, and captains of industry.

In April, one of D-B’s most recent athletic success stories returned to Kingsport to share his personal journey and impress upon our students the importance of education. Current Tennessee Titan and D-B grad Coty Sensabaugh visited several KCS schools to share his message and encourage students to take advantage of the great educational opportunities in KCS. Through his talent, dedication, and commitment, Coty has been provided a platform where he can influence the youth of our community. How impressive that he takes advantage of this to come back and provide such a positive message to our students.

What is even more impressive is that Coty doesn’t just talk the talk. He is serious about using his good fortune to help support the community that, in his words, provided him so much support during his development. On June 14, 2014, the 2nd Annual Sensabaugh Camp Classic will take place at J. Fred Johnson Stadium. This non-contact youth football camp is open to all children, boys and girls, from ages 6-17. In addition to receiving personal instruction from Coty, other NFL players, and coaches, campers will receive a camp t-shirt and lunch.

But what sets Coty’s camp apart from many others (and also demonstrates his loyalty and commitment to Kingsport) is that the camp is totally free to participants. Yes… that is correct. There is no fee for any aspect of the camp. Children can come and learn about football, physical health, and teamwork from positive role models that take seriously the concept of using their good fortune to help others. For more information about the camp and to register, visit

Coty walks the walk. What a great example of someone who recognizes his ability and potential to positively influence our children and community.

We give back… We are KCS!


Dobyns-Bennett High School Dramahawks


We are exceptional…

When the long and successful history of Dobyns-Bennett academic and extra-curricular programs are considered, you’d better make sure to place the D-B Theatre Department very close to the top of the list. With a litany of local, regional, and state honors achieved, Director Debbie Coram continues to develop the “Dramahawks” into some of the finest actors and actresses in the state. The bar continues to remain high, and our students (not surprisingly), continue to surpass those high expectations.

Earlier this month, D-B students again struck it big at the state drama tournament in Nashville, winning top honors in a variety of categories. The cast of “Teen Drama Takes a Hike” won the state Interpreters’ Theatre title (Daniel Jernigan, Lukas McCrary, Hunter Eaton, Jackson Fox, Zoe Stout, Merritt Cagle, Haleigh Hankins, Lauren Feathers, and Anna Mader), while Aaron Johnson and Ben Blevins took the title for Duet Acting. Other top results were turned in by Kelli Frawley (3rd place, Costume Design), Grayson Marshall (3rd place, Prose Interpretation), Devin Hooven (4th place, Pantomime), McKenzie Miller (4th place, Humorous Interpretation), Astrid Rotenberry (4th place, Solo Acting), Anna Mader (4th place, Storytelling) and Maxine Poole and Zach Shafer (5th place, Duet Acting).

One of the key foundational philosophies at D-B is that students are given a wide variety of opportunities and experiences (both inside and outside the classroom) in which to find excellence. How exciting to see that mindset embraced by a faculty that works hard to provide such varied experiences, and by a student body that excitedly steps forward to discover and cultivate the talents that lie within. The 2014 Dramahawks are a prime example of this philosophy. They should be applauded for their commitment to excellence and for displaying their talents both figuratively and literally on the local and statewide stage.

We are exceptional… We are KCS.