Several years ago—long before he launched his political career and was later elected to Congress—Harold “Hal” Rogers had to leave his home community in Wayne County to find a job.
Speaking to the second class of 2012 Rogers Scholars at The Center for Rural Development, Rogers said he didn’t want those students, or future generations, to have to experience such a departure to make a living.
That’s why he and other area leaders chose to look for ways to help the region’s young people build their careers right here in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
The Rogers Scholars youth leadership program was born of this desire. Now in its 15th year, Rogers said he is proud of all of the young men and women who have graduated from the program through the years.
“The Rogers Scholars program is an attempt to entice our best and brightest students to come back home to the region after they finish their education,” Rogers told the latest class of Rogers Scholars today. “I was forced, like many of our young people, including your parents and grandparents, to leave home and go somewhere else and find a job.”
Rogers met with the final 2012 summer session of Rogers Scholars on July 13 as the program was winding down for the week and Scholars completed work in their respective career majors prior to an awards ceremony and graduation program later that night.
Rogers Scholar Daniel Bertram, a junior at Monticello Independent School, was impressed with Rogers’ life story and rising political career.
“It was interesting hearing how he became involved in politics and how he came up with the idea for The Center and its youth programs,” said Bertram. “It was very inspiring to hear a man, like Congressman Rogers, tell us that we are the future and to hear him encourage us.”
“Congressman Rogers is the best example of a leader I have ever witnessed,” added Rogers Scholar Madison Hatfield, a junior at Pulaski County High School. “His drive and ambition open the doors for youth to show you can be whatever you want to be in life.”
The Rogers Scholars program provides leadership and college scholarship opportunities for rising high school juniors in Southern and Eastern Kentucky and instills in them a commitment to build their careers in their home communities.
Since 1998, approximately 840 high school students have graduated from Rogers Scholars, and potential scholarships valued at more than $7.5 million have been offered to graduates from 16 participating partner colleges and universities.[flickrset id=”72157630562605702″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”12″ overlay=”true”size=”square”]