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Sydney Miller, of Hazard, graduated the Rogers Scholars program at Morehead State University, hosted by The Center for Rural Development in Somerset. Pictured is Allison Cross, Community Liaison and Youth Programs Coordinator at The Center; Miller; and Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center.

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Summer Lawson, of Hazard, graduated the Rogers Explorers program at Morehead State University, hosted by The Center for Rural Development in Somerset. Pictured is Allison Cross, Community Liaison and Youth Programs Coordinator at The Center; and Lawson.

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Kenzie Roark, of Vicco, graduated the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset. Pictured is Shelton Ansley, Assistant Director at the Kentucky Highlands Innovation Center; Roark; and Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center.

Three Perry County students graduated from The Center for Rural Development’s youth programs this summer.

Rogers Scholars

Perry County Central High School student Sydney Miller graduated from the Rogers Scholars program at Morehead State University in July. Miller is the daughter of Teresa and Jon Miller, of Hazard.

Rogers Scholars, The Center’s flagship youth program, was established through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05). The intensive one-week summer program provides valuable leadership skills and opportunities for high school students in 45 Kentucky counties to build their skills as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

“The Rogers Scholars program challenges students to look at all of the possibilities that are open to them and aims to put them on a path to success at a young age while helping to create well rounded individuals that will go on to change this region forever,” said Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center.

Each graduate of the Rogers Scholars program earns potential access to exclusive scholarship opportunities from some of the state’s top-ranked colleges and universities.

The 2022 application period is Nov. 1, 2021 through Jan. 31, 2022.

Rogers Explorers

East Perry Elementary School student Summer Lawson graduated from the Rogers Explorers program. Lawson is the daughter of Cora Lawson, of Hazard. She attended the program at Morehead State University.

Rogers Explorers is a summer youth leadership program that takes place on five different college campuses throughout the Commonwealth. Rogers Explorers is a three-day and two-night program on a leading Kentucky college campus where experts will guide them through hands-on assignments. The program is provided at no cost to eligible students within The Center’s 45-county primary service area. Rogers Explorers is open to eighth-grade students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky who have a strong interest in developing their skills in leadership, team building, community service and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields of study.

Rogers Explorers is presented by The Center in partnership with Lindsey Wilson College, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, Asbury University, and Union College.

The 2022 application period is Dec. 1, 2021 through Feb. 28, 2022.

Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI)

Perry County Central High School students Kenzie Roark graduated from the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute in July. She is the daughter of Kenneth and Billie Roark, of Vicco.

ELI is a week long summer leadership camp for student entrepreneurs. ELI provides high school students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky with an in-depth look at what it takes to start their own business venture — from idea development to building a model prototype of their business concept.

The Center for Rural Development partners with Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation and Eastern Kentucky University to develop the program. During the camp, ELI business teams competed in the Business Concept Challenge competition. Members of the winning team earned a $16,000 scholarship from EKU.

The Center’s youth programs are made possible through the 2021 sponsors: TTAI of Somerset, South Kentucky RECC, Conley Bottom Resort, Outdoor Venture, Community Trust Bank of Somerset, First and Farmers Bank of Somerset, Kentucky Utilities, Lincoln Manufacturing, Forcht Bank of Somerset, and Vaughn and Melton of Middlesboro.

For more information about The Center’s youth programs, contact Allison Cross, community liaison and youth programs coordinator at The Center, at, across@centertech.com, or call, (606) 677-6019.

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