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Thirty-six high school students graduate from first class of 2011 Rogers Scholars

By July 5, 2011No Comments

To view photos from Friday night’s 2011 Rogers Scholars awards ceremony and graduation program, visit Flickr at

Lauren Hayes, standing at podium, youth programs coordinator, recognizes the first class of 2011 Rogers Scholars graduates at an awards ceremony and graduation program.

They worked together as a team to build their leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Some learned to ballroom dance for the first time. Others formed a bond of friendship that will last forever.

The week ended all too soon for 36 rising high school juniors selected from across Southern and Eastern Kentucky to attend the first class of 2011 Rogers Scholars from June 26-July 1 at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

With tears of joy and sadness, the first of two groups of Rogers Scholars graduated from The Center’s flagship summer youth leadership program on July 1 in a celebration of their accomplishments at a graduation program attended by family members and friends.

Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, and Lauren Hayes, youth programs coordinator, presented graduates with framed certificates acknowledging their completion of the program.

Each graduate earns a college scholarship offer from among the 15 participating colleges and universities.

The Center’s Rogers Scholars program provides leadership and scholarship opportunities for high school students within its 42-county primary service area and encourages graduates to build their careers in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

Students apply during their sophomore year and attend Rogers Scholars for one week in the summer before the start of their junior year in high school.

“We had some fun,” Lawson told the first class of 2011 Rogers Scholars graduates seated in front of stage in The Center’s theatre during the graduation program. “We had some laughs. We’ve even shed a few tears.”

Lawson challenged Rogers Scholars graduates to take ownership of their education, follow their dreams, and always do their best work in whatever career or profession they decide to pursue in life.

Faith Call of Pulaski County and Alex Chumbley, of Whitley County were named 2011 Rogers Scholars Ambassadors. During the graduation program, they gave an overview of the week’s activities. U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), shown in the video, spoke to the first class of 2011 Rogers Scholars earlier in the week.

Later in the graduation program, Rogers Scholars resident adviser and 2007 award recipient Madison Wesley presented 2011 Rogers Scholars graduate Cassidy Scantland, 16, a student at Green County High School, the Doug Reece Memorial Award. Scantland had the highest-scoring application among students who participated in this summer’s first session of Rogers Scholars.

Scantland was presented a handcrafted Appalachian dulcimer donated by Dr. Bruce Ayers, president of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. She also will receive a $250 scholarship to any in-state college or university as part of the award.

The award is presented in memory of the late Doug Reece, a prominent attorney in Southern and Eastern Kentucky and former chairman of the executive committee of The Center’s board of directors.

In addition, Rogers Scholars graduates Faith Call, a student at Southwestern High School in Pulaski County and Alex Chumbley, a student at Corbin High School in Whitley County, were selected by their peers to represent them as 2011 Rogers Scholars Ambassadors.