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Sunday, May 25, 2008

2008 D-B Graduating Seniors Picnic at Warriors Path

Today is the beginning of the rest of their lives.

Our graduating African-American seniors from Dobyns-Bennett in Kingsport got off to a rousing start, by attending a picnic in their honor, held at the Warriors Path State Park.


The event was co-sponsored by the Ebony Club Alumni Association, which is now a part of the Douglass Alumni Association of Kingsport. A special thanks to Dawnella Ellis, former teacher sponsor of the D-B Ebony Club, whose former club helped with funds for the event. The graduating seniors' picnic is the first of many collaborations together, as the legacies of our Douglass High School are passed down to the future Ebony Club members just finding out about their Riverview heritage.

"Douglass-Kingsport is well represented today," says Monica Lewis-Patrick, who, along with Octavia Hampton, organized the event for the graduating D-B Seniors. "We've got pretty much somebody from most of the large families that went to Douglass."

"There's nothing finer than being in the hills of Tennessee with these proud Dobyns-Bennett graduates," says Ms. Lewis-Patrick. "We had a phenomenal turnout, and it's been a great day to celebrate their accomplishments. It's been a difficult four years for some of them with parents not always being available, but today, we wanted them to know they are loved, appreciated and celebrated, not just by their parents and friends, but by the alumni of Douglass."

Douglass Alumni Board of Director Vice-President Andra Watterson represented the Douglass Alumni Association, along with past president Virginia Hankins, and also board members Judy Phillips and Van Dobbins, Junior who helped with the food concessions.

Many of the graduating seniors are going off to college.. Jordan Patrick has been accepted at North Carolina A & T, Terrance Blye has been accepted at Northeast State, Faith Mbarathi is going to the University of Memphis, Tremmell McGue has been accepted at both the University of North Carolina AND the University of Tennessee, East Tennessee State is also represented with incoming D-B graduates. "A lot of the D-B graduates won't see each other for a long time," Ms. Lewis-Patrick says. friendships will continue, but the separations among the friends will be hard to deal with."

Many of our seniors are graduating with honors. The National Society of High School Scholars has selected Jordan Patrick for membership. The NSHSS recognizes top scholars and invites students who have achieved superior academic excellence, according to a news release announcing Jordan's acceptance. The membership entitles her to benefits like scholarship opportunities, academic competitions, free events, and members-only resources, publications, and participation in programs offered by education partners, online forums and publicity honors. Jordan is in good company.. right now, there are more than 300,000 society members in more than 120 countries.

Those folks at the picnic enjoyed good barbeque pork, beef and chicken, catered by The Red Pig Barbeque in Johnson City, along with cole slaw, baked beans, hot dogs, hamburgers, tea and soft drinks. "We're excited about the potential of making this an annual event," says Ms. Lewis-Patrick. Our partnership with the Ebony Club Alumni and the Douglass Alumni Associations goes a long way to preserving the wonderful traditions and legacies of the Riverview-South Central neighborhood."

"It's great for these graduating seniors to be able to sit down with the Douglass Alumni and hear the stories of friendships, survival, and friendships that held us together as a community," she says.

A BIG CONGRADULATIONS to our graduating D-B graduating seniors: Brittany Sensabaugh, Jessica Hampton, Terrance Blye, Faith Mbarathi, Mercedes Huff, Jamikia Beatty, Adrian Sensabaugh, and Jordan Patrick. Not present for the picture above, but proud D-B graduates all the same, were Adam Lytle, Jeremy Turner and Tremmell McGue. If your graduating D-B senior could not attend the picnic, or was not present for the pictures, please send that information to: or, so we can include them in the congradulations.

"Hopefully, the graduating seniors can learn from their elders' experiences, and never forget the community they came from," says Ms. Lewis-Patrick.