Dobyns-Bennett holds alternate graduation for 3 seniors enlisting in the military

Stronger Together

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – This graduation season has been unique to say the least.

“I commend every school system for doing special things for their graduates,” Dobyns-Bennett High School principal Dr. Chris Hampton said.

Kids have crossed the finish line at a motor speedway, while others enjoyed some popcorn at a drive-in theatre.

Dobyns-Bennett High School pushed its graduation back until July, but not for three of its seniors.

“We just really scaled down what we typically do and what we will do in July, I mean these kids had a full blown graduation everything we will do in July they experienced today,” Hampton said.

Logan Flaherty, Jet Harris, and Benjamin Shanks won’t be here in July; they’ll be serving our country.

“I mean the United States Military as a whole we’re a brotherhood and so to me I felt like this just brought us closer together and reminded us how cool it is what we’re doing,” Shanks said.

Shanks is headed to the Air Force Academy.

“Our basic training starts on June 25th and so I knew that would last all the way through August and that I wouldn’t be here so it scared me that I wouldn’t get to experience my high school graduation,” Shanks said.

Joining him is Jet Harris; yeah, his name is Jet.

“I think it’s a little coincidence a little ironic but it’s cool I’m glad my parents named me that,” Harris said.

Fitting for him, and he can continue his football career.

“After football I’d love to be a pilot, I just have a passion for playing football and I got the opportunity to get a scholarship from the Air Force Academy to play football,” Harris said.

Flaherty is headed to the Army; he will be packing his bags this weekend.

“South Carolina, Ft. Jackson,” Flaherty said when asked where he will be stationed for his training. “There’s nothing like it, it’s not like going to college with a bunch of your friends because college is different so going all together to the military situation, it’ll be a fun experience I’m looking forward to it.”

These kids are making a great sacrifice to serve our country; the least they could get is a proper graduation.

“I thought I was gonna miss graduation completely and have to come by and pick up my diploma but I kinda like it better this way,” Flaherty said.

“I’m totally thrilled this was special for sure,” Shanks said.

“Shoutout to Kingsport City Schools,” Harris said.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter.

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