KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Local high school seniors Hannah Estes and Ria Kothari have advanced to the national level of the 2023 Presidential Scholarship Program.

A release from Kingsport City Schools said the Two Dobyns-Bennett High School seniors are among only 5,500 candidates nationwide to be considered for the scholarship, which recognizes and awards the ‘most distinguished graduating seniors’ in the U.S.

“The Presidential Scholars Award is one of the most distinguished awards a high school student can earn,” said Dr. Brian Tate, Dobyns-Bennett High School Interim Principal. “This recognition is most deserving, as both Hannah and Ria have invested significantly in developing their skills and abilities and working toward their academic goals. We are proud of these young ladies and look forward to the promising future each holds. They are outstanding representatives of Dobyns-Bennett and the Kingsport community.”

Application to the program is by invitation only, according to the release. Students are invited based on ACT and SAT scores or a nomination by a Chief State School officer, the release said.

Up to 161 students are selected each year to receive the Presidential Scholarship. The students receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. in June for a National Recognition Weekend, where they’ll be presented with a medallion and have the opportunity to meet key government officials and international figures, according to the release.

Estes and Kothari will find out if they have been named a 2023 Presidential Scholar in May, the release said. More information on the Presidential Scholarship Program can be found at