Rogers Scholars graduate Donald Damron, a student at East Carter High School, accepts the Doug Reece Memorial Award.

Rogers Scholars graduate Donald Damron, a student at East Carter High School, accepts the Doug Reece Memorial Award.

Thirty-two rising high school juniors from Southern and Eastern Kentucky graduated Friday night from the second and final summer session of the 2013 Rogers Scholars youth leadership program.

Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development, and Delaney Stephens, community liaison and youth programs coordinator, presented each graduate with a certificate acknowledging his or her successful completion of the program.

The graduation program was held at The Center in Somerset and included video presentations from Rogers Scholars graduates in the healthcare, engineering, and video production teams.

“This year’s class of Rogers Scholars is an exceptional group of young leaders,” said Stephens. “I have high hopes for all of them as they return to their hometowns in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. There is no limit to what these Scholars can do, and I look forward to seeing them develop into the future business and civic leaders this region needs.”

Rogers Scholars graduate Donald Damron, 16, a student at East Carter High School, was presented the Doug Reece Memorial Award for having the highest-scoring application among students who participated in the second graduating class of Rogers Scholars.

As an award recipient, Damron 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.

The award is presented in memory of the late Doug Reece, former chairman of the executive committee of The Center’s board of directors.

Two other Rogers Scholars graduates Noor Ali and Ryan Anderson were selected by class members to represent them as Rogers Scholars Ambassadors. Ali is a student at Pikeville High School, and Anderson attends Rowan County High School.

The second summer session of Rogers Scholars was held July 7-12. Scholars spent four days on the campus of Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia and returned to The Center on the final day of the program to finish up their work and attend a graduation program that evening in the theatre.

The Rogers Scholars program provides leadership and scholarship opportunities for high school students within its 45-county primary service area in Southern and Eastern Kentucky from 18 partner colleges and universities.

Click here to view photos from Friday’s graduation program at The Center.