In July 19 issue, Russell County News
By Sharon DodsonThe Center for Rural Development
Rogers Scholar Casey McGowan of Russell County was one of 30 rising high school juniors from Southern and Eastern Kentucky to graduate from the youth leadership program in July.
McGowan, a student at Russell County High School, attended the second session of the 2008 Rogers Scholars program. She was presented a certificate for completing the program Friday, July 11, at the graduation program hosted by The Center for Rural Development in Somerset. Former Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton, keynote speaker, challenged Scholars to dream big, set goals and do not be afraid to try even if it means a risk of failure.
Rogers Scholars, sponsored by The Center, is an intensive one week summer program that provides opportunities for some of the best and brightest students in this region of Kentucky to learn leadership and team-building skills.
"At this program, I've learned it's not all about me and my determination to succeed. It's about taking my determination to succeed and being concerned enough to use that to inspire my peers to succeed as well," said McGowan.
Scholars are encouraged to explore their interests and step outside their comfort zones to try different activities. McGowan's favorite activity was climbing the high and low ropes course in the team-building exercises. She said the course was challenging, but the experience taught her a valuable life lesson about how each member must work together as a team.
During the week, Scholars receive 12 hours of professional instruction and hands-on experience working in one of three declared majors: engineering, information technology or digital video production.
McGowan's major was information technology. She said she selected this major to pursue her interests in computers. "I am intrigued about learning the functions of different technological devices," said McGowan, whose team presented a PowerPoint presentation and skit from their information technology class at the graduation program.
The 2008 Rogers Scholar is the daughter of Mary Bradshaw of Jamestown and Jackie McGowan of Russell Springs.
Rogers Scholars was developed in 1996 in cooperation with U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers' efforts to promote youth development and leadership in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. Rogers, who represents the 5th Congressional District, is committed to providing opportunities for the region's youth so that "No young person should have to leave his or her home to find their future," his signature phase.
"We want to teach young people of Southern and Eastern Kentucky confidence and skills, as well as inspire a deeper commitment to their hometowns and this region," said The Center for Rural Development President and CEO Lonnie Lawson.
Each year, The Center selects 60 applicants - 30 students per session - from the 42-county service area to attend Rogers Scholars. During the last 12 years, 599 students have graduated from the program. Each graduate is eligible to apply for a scholarship from 13 participating colleges or universities.
"Being selected as a Rogers Scholars is an honor for the student, their school and their community - it is a highly competitive process," said Jessica Melton, associate director of education and training for The Center. "These students truly represent the best and brightest minds in our region."