You can’t turn on a radio, television or log onto the internet without hearing something about the current state of our economy. While the economy is a hot topic right now, many of us wish we knew more about our economy, how it works, and what we can do to help improve things. The Logan County 4-H Youth Development Program, along with the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, Russellville High School and Logan County High School are providing an educational program for high school sophomores to help educate our young people about our economy and how it works.
The American Private Enterprise System, or A.P.E.S. for short, began as a pilot program in 2007 as a joint effort designed by the University of Kentucky and implemented by the agencies mentioned above. This program allows selected high school sophomores attending Logan County and Russellville High Schools an opportunity to attend a two day, hands on, educational experience. Each day students listen to local business leaders speak on topics such as our economy, cooperatives, small business and large business. Students also take part in tours of local businesses such as Russellville Dental Labs and Logan Memorial Hospital. Students‚ complete tests to evaluate what they‚ve learned and these test scores are then used as a tool to select two students from the group to earn a $100 college scholarship and attend the Kentucky Youth Seminar, held on the University of Kentucky campus each June. This is the state level program where students from across the commonwealth learn and compete for scholarships and a trip to the national program.
This year’s youth scholars who attended the Kentucky Youth Seminar in Lexington were Rebecca Orndorff and Brent Richey. At the KYS students again hear seminars, work as members of a board of directors, take tests, and gain an even better understanding of how our economy functions. Students are also able to learn more about college life through speakers, living in the dorms, and campus tours. At this year’s KYS Rebecca and Brent were able to network with other students from across the state and make a few new friends as well. At the end of the three-day seminar, our local students definitely came away with some great accomplishments. Brent and Rebecca were both selected to attend the National Institute on Cooperative Education in July in West Lafayette, Ind., on the Purdue University campus. This national program is an opportunity for both students to earn additional scholarship money and receive national recognition for their work.
Rebecca attends Russellville High School and will be in the 11th grade this upcoming year. She is on the Academic Team, in the BETA Club and Spanish Club, and participates in the musicals (i.e. Once Upon a Mattress; Beauty and the Beast; etc. that the RHS drama department puts on every spring. She enjoys reading, biking, running, singing, acting, etc. Her favorite subjects are history and science. Rebecca says, “APES and KYS were good programs because they educated me about corporations, cooperations, and how to make a business successful. The Kentucky Youth Scholars program is amazing and is very beneficial to the youth delegates who attend. My board was a hypothetical corporation and won second place and money to divide equally among all of the board members. I was also invited to the National Institute for Cooperative Education conference.”
Brent is a 16-year-old junior at LCHS. His hobbies include playing video games and working with computers. His plans after high school are to attend college and earn a degree in computer science or computer networking. At the KYS Brent earned ten dollars cash for placing third on a co-op exam and six dollars for his board taking third place. Brent says, “Thanks for the amazing time at the Kentucky Youth Scholar Seminar. It was awesome; I learned so much and made many new friends.”