Dobyns-Bennett Student Selected as 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholar Semi-Finalist


KINGSPORTDobyns-Bennett senior Sarah van Dierdonck, daughter of Olivier van Dierdonck and Tamara Rivera, has been selected to advance to the final round of the 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars competition.‚  From nearly 3.2 million graduating high school seniors, over 4,000 were identified as candidates in the program.‚  Van Dierdonck is one of only 565 semi-finalists nationwide and one of thirteen in Tennessee to receive this prestigious honor.

Words cannot express how proud and pleased I am that Sarah has been recognized as a U.S. Presidential Scholar semi-finalist, said D-B Principal Dr. Chris Hampton.‚  This is one of, if not the most recognized and significant academic recognitions a high school senior can receive.‚  To be one of only a handful of students in Tennessee and the nation to receive this honor is a testament to her excellence as a student and person.

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 demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and

performing arts. Annually, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

We are thrilled that such an excellent student has been recognized in such a significant way, said KCS Superintendent Dr. Lyle Ailshie.‚  Sarah embodies all that is great about Kingsport City Schools.‚  Her achievement represents the many world-class opportunities at Dobyns-Bennett and throughout KCS.

There have been three previous Presidential Scholar award winners in the history of D-B, the latest occurring in 2009.‚  Application for the award 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 then narrowed to approximately 560 semi-finalists, and ‚ ultimately then determined as a recipient or not.

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 individuals.

Kingsport‚ City Schools is a public school system 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 and an alternative school; with total enrollment reaching 6,500 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to be, Student Focused ¦ World Class.

For more information on Kingsport City Schools (KCS), visit, listen live on, WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, watch KCS Today on Charter Channel 16 at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. or call (423) 378.2100.‚ Were social too; follow us on Facebook, Kingsport City Schools and on Twitter, @KptSchools.