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Members of the first graduating class of The Center for Rural Development’s 2012 Rogers Scholars are already thinking of ways they can put their new leadership skills into action back in their home communities and the region.

“Rogers Scholars has helped me to find my voice and work as a team with different personalities,” said Rogers Scholars graduate Madison Allen of Russell County. “This program has made me realize that I need to have more of a voice in my community and to help more in my county.”

Rising high school juniors from across Southern and Eastern Kentucky were at The Center in Somerset June 24-29, graduating on the final day of the summer youth leadership program.

“The first class of Rogers Scholars was an inspiring group of young leaders,” said Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator and community liaison for The Center. “The Scholars came together and bonded as a group in such a short amount of time, and they exemplify the kind of leadership that is needed by the future leaders of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.”

Rogers Scholars—The Center’s flagship youth program—provides leadership and exclusive scholarship opportunities for young people to seize their potential as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

“The Rogers Scholars program has taught me the importance of being a leader in my community. It has also helped me to become a better team player and taught me new leadership skills.”
Rogers Scholars graduate Ja Cinda Warner of Lee County High School

“This program has been an experience of a lifetime,” added Rogers Scholars graduate Katherine Citak of Pulaski County. “It taught me valuable lessons in leadership, business, and life in general.”

Now in its 15th year, Rogers Scholars is making a difference in the lives of young people in Southern and Eastern Kentucky—from Monroe County in Southwestern Kentucky to Pike County in the far eastern part of the state and everywhere in between.

 “You are all leaders,” keynote speaker Mike Duncan, former member of The Center’s Executive Committee, told Rogers Scholars graduates at Friday night’s graduation program. “You are also a hero … and we are waiting for you to come home.”

Graduates of the first class of 2012 Rogers Scholars include the following representatives from Southern and Eastern Kentucky:

  •  Patrick Toy—Bath County
  • Jacob Schneider—Bell County
  • Teddy Woods—Clay County
  • Lamon Hubbs—Clinton County
  • Michael Witt—Estill County
  • Sarah Gabbard—Jackson County
  • Luke Landis—Jessamine County
  • Channing Everidge—Knott County
  • Jessica Pope—Knox County
  • Scotty Reams—Laurel County
  • Brock Finley—Lawrence County
  • Ja Cinda Warner—Lee County
  • Cody Baker—Letcher County
  • Elizabeth Ward—Martin County
  • Brooklyne Chitwood—McCreary County
  • Jacob Valerio—Menifee County
  • Mandi Rigsby—Metcalfe County
  • Mary Madison Lyons—Monroe County
  • Chase Turner—Morgan County
  • Courtney Wright—Pike County
  • Katherine Stockham, Katherine Citak, Bethany Cox, Caroline Parker, Rebecca Dunmore, and Brittany Pittman—Pulaski County
  • Madisan Miller and Rebekah Ponder—Rockcastle County
  • Yulia Perevozchikova—Rowan County
  • Madison Allen—Russell County
  • Taylor Agathen—Taylor County
  • Cheyenne Chaney—Wayne County
  • Kori Sears—Whitley County
  • Colby Creech—Wolfe County

Click here to view other photographs from the graduation program.

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