Whitesburg KY

Deadline for Rogers Scholars and ELI is Thursday, Jan. 31

High school students in Letcher County are eligible to apply for Rogers Scholars or Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) if they meet the program requirements, but they must act quickly. The deadline to file applications for both programs is Thursday, Jan. 31.

Applications are available online at The Center for Rural Development website, www.centertech.com, and Rogers Scholars website, www.rogersscholars.com, and must be submitted by the filing deadline to be considered for a limited number of spaces in the summer leadership programs. Rogers Scholars and ELI are sponsored by The Center and held at its headquarters in Somerset.

Rogers Scholars is an intensive one-week summer session for rising high school juniors from The Center’s 42-county service area in southern and eastern Kentucky. Sophomores with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 are eligible to apply. The program, named after U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, emphasizes technological skills development, fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, leadership development and encourages commitment to rural Kentucky.

“We are trying to light a spark where students, if they do have to leave home to get an education, will want to come back and establish their homes in southern and eastern Kentucky,” said Jessica Melton, youth programs coordinator for The Center for Rural Development.

Rogers Scholars will offer two one-week sessions on June 22-27 and July 6-11. Thirty students will attend each session. One student will be selected from each county in the 42-county service area and 18 students will be picked at large, based on highest scores, to participate in each of the sessions.

Students will participate in a variety of fun and educational activities, interact with state and national speakers and work with top quality instructors. During the week, students will select a ” major” in one of three areas – video production, information technology or engineering – and concentrate on developing those skills. Their finished products will be showcased in a student produced program at the graduation ceremony.

Graduates may qualify for scholarships with partner colleges and universities. Several institutions across the region have made scholarship opportunities available to Rogers Scholars helping achieve one of the primary goals of the program – and Congressman Rogers’ signature motto – that “no young person should have to leave home to find his or her future.”

Approximately 539 students have completed the Rogers Scholars program since it was started in 1998. Melton said many of the graduates become Rogers Scholars Ambassadors and serve as mentors for the younger students.

The Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute focuses on developing future business leaders and entrepreneurs. Sophomores, juniors and seniors from The Center’s service area are eligible to apply. Thirty students will be selected to attend a one-week session on June 8-13.

“The program encourages students to become entrepreneurs. We help encourage them to capture the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Melton.

The week-long institute includes classroom instruction, guest speakers and tours of local businesses. Students will be divided in teams and compete in daily “Apprentice-like” competitions.

The program will conclude with a team business concept competition where students will compete for recognition at the annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards. For the last two years, the winning teams received presidential scholarships to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond

Forty-four students have graduated from ELI program since it was started in 2006.

Both programs are provided free of charge to students and their families. Meals, lodging and extra-curricular activities will be paid for through the program sponsor.

Rogers Scholars applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, a short essay on a required topic, a copy of high school transcripts and a list of community and extracurricular activities

For more information on Rogers Scholars or ELI, contact Melton at 606-677-6000, or e-mail to jmelton@centertech.com.

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