Skip to main content


U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) and Congressional Award Bronze Medal recipient Kori Sears of Whitley County

Rogers Scholars graduate Kori Sears, a junior at Whitley County High School, completed 100 hours of community service and personal development to earn the Congressional Award Bronze Medal.

U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) presented Sears with the Bronze Medal and recognized her volunteer efforts to improve Whitley County and achievements in reaching her personal development goals.

Kori is setting the bar high for other students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky, by going beyond successful academics to dedicate her time to volunteer service and personal development,” said Rogers. “Colleges and universities are looking for more than good grades today. They are searching for well-rounded students who are developing good character and putting community first. I commend Kori for her efforts and I hope students across the region are inspired to follow suit.”

Sears graduated from the 2012 session of Rogers Scholars, an intensive one-week summer youth leadership program, presented by The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

The program provides leadership and exclusive scholarship opportunities for rising high school juniors within The Center’s 45-county primary service area in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

“The leadership qualities Kori displays are a testament of what Rogers Scholars graduates are capable of,” said Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator and community liaison for The Center. “Her remarkable achievement is a model of what other young leaders around the region can accomplish. The Center congratulates Kori for the dedication she put into earning the Congressional Award.”

To earn the Bronze Medal, Sears helped children learn to read and use computers during an afternoon reading program. For personal development, she learned to draw and paint with acrylics. For physical fitness, she improved her tennis skills. For her expedition, the Whitley County High School student took an overnight trip of horseback riding in the Big South Fork National Park in Tennessee. Sears also served as a junior counselor at Camp UNITE last year. Her advisor for the program is Tania Sharp, a guidance counselor at Whitley County High School.

The Congressional Award is open to all young people ages 14-23 in America. To earn the Award, young people must set and achieve goals in the four program areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration.