2024 Rogers Scholars chosen

Published 10:30 am Monday, May 6, 2024

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Four Harlan County students have been chosen to participate in the 2024 Rogers Scholars program, Dylan Cox, Tyson Cornett, Shania Middleton, and Sayed Damaa will be taking part in the program this summer.

According to a press release from the Center for Rural Development, Cox, Cornett, and Damaa are sophomores at Harlan Independent High School, while Middleton is a Harlan County High School sophomore. The four along with 100 high school students from across 45 Kentucky counties will participate in the 27th annual Rogers Scholars program. This year’s program is the largest class to ever take part in Rogers Scholars.

The release states Rogers Scholars —The Center for Rural Development’s flagship youth program— is an intensive one-week summer program that provides valuable leadership skills and exclusive college scholarship opportunities for rising high school juniors in Southern and Eastern Kentucky to build their skills as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

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“For the first time in the history of the program, we are expanding Rogers Scholars to give more young people in our region a chance to share in this amazing experience,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center for Rural Development. “We have invited 100 of the best and brightest minds to come together this summer to strengthen their leadership and entrepreneurial skills, plan for their futures, and a develop a passion for community service.”

A press release from Harlan County High School states the weeklong Rogers Scholars program assists students with building leadership skills through a series of team building exercises and hands on training in healthcare, engineering, and civic engagement. Participants will spend time with nationally recognized business leaders. The program is aimed at developing skills in technology, leadership, entrepreneurship, and community service.

“I am honored to be chosen as a Rogers Scholar…I am ecstatic that this program will offer over 20 different college scholarships from various universities,” Middleton said. “I can’t begin to put into words how excited and grateful I am to be a part of this program. I can’t wait to see how much this program will further my knowledge and increase my opportunities.”

Middleton is a past Rogers Explorers and has participated in a series of programs provided through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s STEM programs at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN. Middleton is the granddaughter of Bobby and Josephine Middleton, and daughter of Angie Middleton.

The 2024 Rogers Scholars Programs will be held on the campuses of Lindsey Wilson College (June 23-28) and Morehead State University (July 7-12). Graduation will be held at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset. There is no tuition charge to attend. All lodging, meals, and program expenses (except for transportation to and from the program) are offered at no cost to the student.

Established in 1998, Rogers Scholars resulted from the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05).

The program is open to current high school sophomores in 45 counties of Southern and Eastern Kentucky who have a strong interest in developing skills in leadership, technology, entrepreneurship, and community service. Students must live in a county located within The Center’s primary service area to apply for Rogers Scholars.

Dylan Cox is the son of Travis and Shawna Cox of Wallins. Tyson Cornett is the son of Michael and Mia Cornett of Benham. Sayed Damaa is the son of Jamile and Georges Damaa of Harlan.