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Congressman Rogers and Rogers Scholars

U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) and Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, welcome the first group of 2011 Rogers Scholars. Lauren Hayes, youth programs coordinator, is standing to the far right in the photo.

U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) rubs shoulders with national and international leaders, serves as chairman of the House’s powerful Appropriations Committee, and is a champion of some of Kentucky’s— and the nation’s—key legislative issues.

But he said his greatest accomplishment is not found in what he has been able to do on Capitol Hill.

Instead, the answer is in smiling faces of the region’s young people—including the graduates of The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program—who he charges with shaping the future of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Rogers visited The Center on June 28 to talk to the first of two groups of 2011 Rogers Scholars. Seventy-two rising high school juniors from across the region have been selected by The Center to grow their leadership and entrepreneurial skills this summer as Rogers Scholars.

When asked by one of the students about his greatest achievement, Rogers pointed at the students in the room.

“You’re looking at it,” Rogers said with a smile.

“If we can keep one generation of high school graduates here,” he said, “we can change the face of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.”

Through programs like Rogers Scholars, Rogers is hoping some of the best and brightest minds will not have to leave home to find jobs and will choose to launch their careers back in their home region.

“You are our pride and joy,” Rogers said.

The one-week program, held on the grounds of The Center, provides leadership and scholarship opportunities for the region’s youth and instills in them a commitment to build their lives and careers in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Rogers is currently serving his 16th term in Congress representing the people of the Fifth Congressional District. He is the longest serving Kentucky Republican ever elected to federal office.

For more information about Rogers Scholars and any of The Center’s other summer youth programs, contact Lauren Hayes at 606-677-6000 or via email. Visit us Facebook at