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Three D-B students advance in Presidential Scholars program

Community Contributor Marybeth McLain • Feb 4, 2018 at 5:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett High School seniors Karli Ailshie, John Lewis Corker and Kate Tolleson have been selected to apply for the annual U.S. 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 Ailshie. John Lewis is the son of Cliff and Alice Corker. Kate 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 Chris Hampton, D-B 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. Important milestones for remaining steps of the selection process include nominees completing the national Presidential Scholars application, semifinalists 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 and scientists.

For more information about the Presidential Scholars program, contact the D-B Counseling Office at (423) 378-8409.

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