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Allie Romines, a sophomore at Taylor County High School, is one of 60 students selected to participate in The Center for Rural Development's Rogers Scholars program.
Rogers Scholars is a unique and exciting learning opportunity for a select group of juniors from 42 counties in Southern and Eastern Kentucky that was first envisioned by the program's namesake, Congressman Hal Rogers, in 2005.
During each of the intensive, one-week sessions in June and July, 30 students will participate in hands-on learning in engineering, video production or information technology majors. Scholars also take part in entrepreneurial training sessions and get the opportunity to interact via videoconference and in person with some of the nation's most renowned speakers and business professionals.
During the week, scholars will be involved in exercises designed to build leadership and cooperative skills.
"There will be serious instruction, but it will be presented in a fun, exciting, learning environment," says Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center. "Students will develop bonds and relationships they can carry throughout their lives."
According to Lawson, one of the most exciting aspects of the program is the individual action plan. Brainstorming about the needs of their communities, scholars develop projects they take home and implement in their county. Previous successful projects include presenting a safety fair, beginning an entrepreneurial library and organizing drug-free post-prom activities.
"We want to teach the young people of Southern and Eastern Kentucky confidence and skills, as well as inspire a deeper commitment to their hometowns and this region," Lawson said.
Being chosen for Rogers Scholars involves a highly competitive process.
"An essay, community and extra-curricular involvement, grade point average and reference letters are all used in a blind scoring process that conceals the name, gender and county of the applicant allowing their achievements to rise to the top," said Jessica Melton, associate director of education and training.
Romines is the daughter of Robert and Pam Romines of Campbellsville.