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Lonnie Lawson, right, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development, and Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator and community liaison, announce the 2012 Doug Reece Memorial Award recipient Taylor Agathen of Taylor County

Three graduates from the first class of the 2012 Rogers Scholars youth leadership program have been recognized by The Center for Rural Development.

Taylor Agathen, a student at Taylor County High School, took home the prestigious Doug Reece Memorial Award for having the highest-scoring application among students who participated in the opening summer session of Rogers Scholars.

And two other Rogers Scholars graduates—Yulia Perevozchikova, a student at Rowan County High School, and Scotty Reams, a student at South Laurel High School—were given the highest honor bestowed on them by their peers: to continue to represent members of their graduating class as Rogers Scholars Ambassadors.

These three rising high school juniors were recognized on June 29 at the conclusion of the first class of the 2012 Rogers Scholars program during a graduation ceremony for participants and their families at The Center in Somerset.

“It was a pleasure getting to know Taylor during the first week of Rogers Scholars,” Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator and community liaison for The Center, said. “Her positive outlook on life is a strong indicator that a bright future lies ahead, and she will undoubtedly serve as a leader for her community.”

As a recipient of the Doug Reece Memorial Award, Agathen received a handcrafted Appalachian dulcimer donated by Dr. Bruce Ayers, president of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, and a $250 scholarship to any in-state college or university.

“Rogers Scholars taught me how to be an effective leader, communicator, and listener.  I also learned the importance of community service and how to value the great place I call home.”
Rogers Scholars graduate Taylor Agathen of Taylor County

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.

Reece served on the board of directors from 1995 through 2005 and was board chairman at the time of his death in 2006.

One graduate from each of the two summer sessions of the 2012 Rogers Scholars program is selected to receive the Doug Reece Memorial Award and scholarship.

Each Rogers Scholars class also votes to have two graduates represent them as Rogers Scholars Ambassadors and continue to work with The Center to plan an upcoming youth programs reunion and other activities.

“Yulia and Scotty will be tremendous assets for the Rogers Scholars program,” Stephens said, “and I have no doubt they will live up to the leadership capabilities that their peers saw in them when they were selected as this year’s Rogers Scholars Ambassadors for Week 1.”

Perevozchikova said the Rogers Scholars program helped her to develop the leadership skills needed to become the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

“I have met so many amazing people in this program,” she said. “This has honestly been one of the best weeks of my life.”

Reams couldn’t agree more.

“The Rogers Scholars program has been an experience of a lifetime for me, because I walked away with skills I will value for the rest of my life,” he said. “It also has taught me to dream big…as I once heard, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’”


Rogers Scholars Ambassadors Scotty Reams and Yulia Perevozchikova