Dobyns-Bennett High School

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Dobyns-Bennett High School
Dobyns-Bennett High School logo.png
DB Outside 2007.jpg

Kingsport, Tennessee
United States

36°32′13.5″N 82°31′47.8″W / 36.537083°N 82.529944°W / 36.537083; -82.529944Coordinates: 36°32′13.5″N 82°31′47.8″W / 36.537083°N 82.529944°W / 36.537083; -82.529944
Type Public
Motto To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield
Established 1918
School district Kingsport City Schools
Principal Dr. Chris Hampton
Enrollment 1822
Color(s) Maroon      and Grey     
Mascot Indian

Dobyns-Bennett High School is a high school (grades 9–12) in Kingsport, Tennessee. It typically educates around 1,800 students, although enrollment for the 2014–15 academic year exceeded 2,100 students.

As a part of Kingsport City Schools, students must be city residents paying city taxes to attend. Students that are not residents of the city may pay a tuition fee to attend. This tuition is collected to account for tax differences between county and city residents in order to help subsidize the cost of school programs and facilities. Dobyns-Bennett features a variety of programs for students of all academic levels. The many classes offered cater to many types of students who may want to attend technical schools or universities across the nation.


Dobyns-Bennett High School was first organized as a regular standard high school in 1918–19 As Central High School. Before that date some high school work had been done as advanced work in the elementary schools. The high school was approved by the State Board of Education in 1919 and was accredited by the Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges in 1922.

The first organized high school was housed in a wooden building located where the First Presbyterian Church now stands. The Central High School building was completed in 1918 and was used until 1926 when the high school was moved to new quarters at the present John Sevier Middle School. To honor the first mayor of the city, J. W. Dobyns, and the first Chairman of the Board of Education, W. M. Bennett. The name was changed in 1926 to Dobyns-Bennett High School.

Because Dobyns-Bennett included both junior high school and high school, the building soon proved inadequate and, in 1934, the junior high was moved to Lincoln, and a new Lincoln School was built. In 1946–47 it became evident that Dobyns-Bennett was again being outgrown. Some of the freshmen had classes and home rooms at the junior high. In July 1947, disaster struck Dobyns-Bennett when the auditorium burned, and the shop and home economics department were destroyed. A new auditorium and a cafeteria below it were completed in December 1948. Construction also began on additions to the building in the fall of 1948, which were completed a year later. From the late 1920s until desegregation was achieved in 1966, Kingsport's Black students attended Frederick Douglass High School, located on Louis Street in the Riverview neighborhood. Douglass closed its doors in 1966, and its students were assimilated into the Dobyns-Bennett student body, one of the last segregated schools in the region to do so. At the time, Douglass High School was the largest African-American school in Upper East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Southeast Kentucky, and the largest between Knoxville, Tennessee and Roanoke, Virginia. By 1958, D-B was beginning to outgrow its facilities again and, when one looked ahead, there was a need for a still larger, more comprehensive, school structure.

In 1965 construction was begun on the new school. It was completed and in use by the fall of 1967. Since that time, both the curriculum and the student body have continued to grow. Highlights of the expansion included the new opening of the vocational wing in 1976, an event which introduced new shop programs to the D-B curricula. At the same time, the ninth grade was added to the school for the first time in twenty-five years while Kingsport's two junior high schools were converted to middle schools. Presently Dobyns-Bennett serves all the students in the City of Kingsport grades nine through twelve.[1]


Thanks in part to the school's long history, in January 2007, a boys basketball team's victory made Dobyns-Bennett the first basketball program—high school, college or professional—in the country to win 2,000 games.[2]

Annually, Dobyns-Bennett alumni participate in a golf tournament aptly named the "Tribe Cup". The Tribe Cup honors former Dobyns-Bennett coaches "Goose" Durham and "Catfish" Watson. Team Goose won the Tribe Cup in 2014 and retained the cup in 2015.[3]

Music and the Arts[edit]

Dobyns-Bennett is also home to the largest marching band in the state of Tennessee with almost 400 members. The Band has performed on the national stage at such venues as Lucas Oil Stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium, and the Georgia Dome. The band has performed three times in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, last appearing in 2014, and has performed five times in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, with their last appearance being in 2011. The DB Band represented the State of Tennessee in the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Parade. The DB Band is the recipient of the 2006, 2007, and 2014 Tennessee Governor's Cup awarded at the Contest of Champions hosted by Middle Tennessee State University.[4] The DB Band is the 2007, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Grand Champion of the Tournament of Champions hosted by Western Carolina University.[5] The DB Band was named Grand Champion of the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Bands of America Regionals held in Winston-Salem, NC. In that contest, they received caption awards for Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance, and Outstanding General Effect.[6] The Band was named Class AAA Champion at the 2016 Bands of America Super Regional at the Georgia Dome and received the finals caption award for Outstanding Music Performance.[7] Since 2008, the Band has competed in the Bands of America Grand National Championships six times, with a semifinals placement every time. In 2016, the Band earned placement in the Bands of America Grand National finals for the first time and placed 13th.[8]

The Dobyns-Bennett Wind Ensemble also has a long tradition of excellence and has performed at the Midwest Clinic twice, last in 2009.[9] In 2006, Dobyns-Bennett was named a GRAMMY Signature School.[10] The Dobyns-Bennett Music and Performing Arts Department also includes the orchestra and Sinfonia. In 2016, Sinfonia performed at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, IN. The Dobyns-Bennett Band is a 2004 recipient of the Sudler Flag of Honor and 2014 recipient of the Sudler Shield. Dobyns-Bennett is only one of sixteen high schools worldwide that have received both the Sudler Flag of Honor for concert band and the Sudler Shield for marching band.[11][better source needed] These awards are administered by the John Philip Sousa Foundation and recognizes high school band programs internationally for particularly significant high standards of sustained excellence.[12]

The marching band participated in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2014 in Pasadena, CA.[13]

The Dobyns-Bennett Chorus, though not as globally recognized as the band and orchestra, is more locally known for its two exemplary a capella choirs.

Radio station[edit]

Local radio station 90.3 FM WCSK is broadcast at Dobyns-Bennett.[14]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

See also[edit]