Lincoln student selected as Center for Rural Development Rogers Scholar

Published 6:42 pm Thursday, May 2, 2024

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The Center for Rural Development has selected Lincoln County student Jackson Smith to attend the 2024 Rogers Scholars Youth Leadership Program.

Jackson, a sophomore at Lincoln County High School, will join 100 high school students from 45 Kentucky counties this summer for the 27th annual Rogers Scholars Program. This is a record number of students and the largest class to ever attend the program.

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 develop a passion for community service.”

Jackson is the son of Brad and Lee Ann Smith of Stanford. He is an active student at school, participating in baseball, basketball, Future Business Leaders of America, and volunteering with groups like the United Way and Salvation Army. He will attend the program at Lindsey Wilson College. 

During the program, Rogers Scholars participate in team-building exercises; receive instructional training from professional experts in engineering, healthcare, and civic engagement; and interact with nationally recognized entrepreneurs. The program focuses on developing skills in leadership, technology, entrepreneurship, and community service.

The 2024 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.

Rogers Scholars was established in 1998 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) that “no young person should have to leave their home to find his or her future.”

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.

For more information about Rogers Scholars, please contact Amber Decker ( or Amy Ellis (, visit or call 606-677-6000.

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.