Four Lee County students graduated the Rogers Scholars and Rogers Explorers programs this summer hosted by The Center for Rural Development.

     Rogers Scholars: Lee County High School student Maggie Durbin, of Beattyville, graduated the Rogers Scholars program at Morehead State University in July. She is the daughter of Phillip and Jana Durbin.      

     Rogers Scholars, The Center’s flagship youth program, was established through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) that “no young person should have to leave home to find his or her future.”

    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 November 1, 2021 through January 31, 2022.

 Rogers Explorers: Three Lee County Middle School students graduated the Rogers Explorers program – Preslee Cundiff, Emily Lutes, and Anna Claire Bishop.  Rogers Explorers is a summer youth leadership program that takes place on five different college campuses throughout the Commonwealth.

   Cundiff is the daughter of Eddie and Tasha Cundiff, of Beattyville. Lutes is the daughter of Chris and Jenny Lutes, of Beattyville. Bishop is the daughter of Julia and Bryan Bishop, of Beattyville.

    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 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 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 December 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022. 

    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 or call 606-677-6019.

    Established in 1996 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders, The Center for Rural Development is a nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. In its 45-county primary service region, The Center provides innovative programs in leadership, public safety, technology, and arts and culture. The Center is committed to constantly expanding its capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation.


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