Thirty-two high school students graduate from first week of the 2016 Rogers Scholars program

“Rogers Scholars has truly been a life-changing experience. My time at Rogers Scholars has opened my eyes and taught me how to be a leader and have a heart for community service.” – 2016 Rogers Scholars graduate Allison “Alli” Wade of Jackson County

Thirty-two high school students from 25 Kentucky counties graduated from the first class of The Center for Rural Development’s 2016 Rogers Scholars program.

The students—all incoming high school juniors—completed the one-week summer leadership program on July 1 and were presented certificates during a graduation program at The Center in Somerset.

Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, and Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator and community liaison, congratulated each of the graduates and announced the recipient of the Doug Reece Memorial Award.

2016 Rogers Scholars graduate Katherine “Katie” Braswell of Perry County had the highest scoring application from among the applicants in the first graduating class of 2016 Rogers Scholars. She will receive a $250 scholarship to any in-state college or university.

“The Rogers Scholars program has really broadened my horizons in terms of my full potential,” said Braswell, 16, a student at Letcher County Central High School. “I have been equipped with skills that will prepare me, not only for my education and career, but my life as well.”

As the recipient of the Doug Reece Memorial Award, Braswell received a handcrafted mountain dulcimer complements of Dr. Joseph L. Fink III, professor of pharmacy law and policy at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Bruce Ayers, former president and CEO of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.

The award is named in honor of the late Doug Reece, who served on the board of directors for The Center from 1995 through 2005. He was board chairman from July 1994 until his death.

Rogers Scholars graduates Shawna Holbrook of Floyd County and Daniel Short of Johnson County were selected by their peers to represent the first graduating class as Rogers Scholars Ambassadors. Two ambassadors from each class are chosen to continue to work with the program after graduation to help plan future activities and events.

The Rogers Scholars program provides valuable leadership and exclusive college scholarship offers for high school students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky to seize their potential as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

Katie Braswell 2016 Rogers Scholars graduate with Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center and Delaney Stephens, Directory of Youth Programs

2016 Rogers Scholars graduate Katie Braswell (Center) with Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center (Left) and Delaney Stephens, Director of Youth Programs (Right)

Aleah Archer, 16, of Jessamine County, said she discovered her potential at Rogers Scholars.

“The Rogers Scholars program definitely paved my way toward success,” said Archer, a student at East Jessamine High School. “This experience helped me to realize that I have the power to make a positive change in the lives of others.”

During the week, Rogers Scholars work in one of three career pathways to learn more about healthcare, engineering, and energy solutions, the newest career major.

“In my career pathway, my love for medicine was reinforced,” said Rogers Scholars graduate Jillian “Jill” Adams, 16, of Lawrence County. “It also reminded me of how much I want to serve the citizens of Eastern Kentucky through healthcare.”

The Rogers Scholars program is presented by The Center for Rural Development and held on the campus of Lindsey Wilson College in Adair County.

2016 Rogers Scholars graduates: Week 1

  • Spencer Lett and Lydia O’Nan: Boyd County
  • Catherine  “Katie” Bowling: Breathitt County
  • Grace Morris: Clay County
  • Shawna Holbrook: Floyd County
  • Dillyn Twisdale: Garrard County
  • Dylan Gentry: Green County
  • Breanna Epperson and Bronwyn Haynes: Harlan County
  • Allison “Alli” Wade: Jackson County
  • Aleah Archer: Jessamine County
  • Daniel Short: Johnson County
  • Trey Chesnut: Knox County
  • Jillian “Jill” Adams: Lawrence County
  • Brooke Saurer: Letcher County
  • Cassidy Goetz: Lincoln County
  • Kaelyn Greene: Magoffin County
  • Justus Goble: Martin County
  • Zane Crouch: Menifee County
  • Robert “Drew” Cox and Seth S. Turner: Morgan County
  • Laken Walker, Marryn Mobelini, Vada Miller, and Katherine “Katie” Braswell: Perry County
  • Alexis Stanley: Pike County
  • Nathaniel Cox and Riley Crawford: Pulaski County
  • Starla Wilson: Rowan County
  • Meleah Coffee: Russell County
  • Hannah Stephens: Whitley County
  • Savannah Perkins: Wolfe County


Click here to view our Flickr gallery for Week 1 of 2016 Rogers Scholars.