Lynch graduates from 2018 class of Rogers Scholars

Published 6:06 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bell County High School student Olivia Lynch graduated this summer from The Center for Rural Development’s 2018 Rogers Scholars program, held on June 24-29.

Rogers Scholars is an intensive one-week summer leadership program that provides valuable leadership skills for high school students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. Students are able to seize their full potential as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders. Upon completion of the program students have the opportunity to apply for scholarships at 17 colleges and universities.

Lynch is the daughter of Sheila Lynch, of Middlesboro.

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“The Rogers Scholars program is truly an experience of a lifetime,” said Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development. “Like-minded students from all over southern and eastern Kentucky come together to learn and grow with the program. This is an extremely dedicated group of young individuals. We look forward to seeing what is in store for them in the future.”

Throughout the week students participated in activities such as a high-ropes course, a community service project at a local community garden, a videoconference with NASA, ballroom dancing lessons, an etiquette dinner with Lindsey Wilson College President Bill Luckey and Dr. Sue Stivers, an entrepreneurship seminar, college fair, and leadership training. The program also included 12 hours of instruction from one of three majors: healthcare, civic engagement and engineering.

“The Center for Rural Development creates a vigorous agenda for the scholars that focuses not only on leadership, but also activities that allow students to step outside of their comfort zone,” said Allison Cross, community liaison and youth programs coordinator at The Center. “These students are given the opportunity to experience everything from a high-ropes challenge to a mock debate about local government. Our hope is that students leave the program as well-rounded individuals.”

The program also featured guest speakers including Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton; Craft Academy Director Carol Christian; Lindsey Wilson College Vice President of Enrollment Services Dean Adams; Olympian Kenny Davis; Senator Max Wise; former Secretary of State Trey Grayson; and Greensburg Mayor George Cheatham.

Sixty-two high school students from 45 Kentucky counties graduated this summer from the 2018 Class of Rogers Scholars. The program was held on the campus of Lindsey Wilson College in Adair County. Since the program began, 1,247 high school students have graduated from Rogers Scholars, and potential scholarships valued at more than $8 million have been offered to graduates from 17 participating colleges and universities.

For more information about the Rogers Scholars program, call 606-677-6000 or visit

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.