While plaques and medals for sports accomplishments may be a common site at high schools, Rich Vick said people "very seldom see academic awards."
But the local resident has helped launch a new awards program at Leavenworth High School that recognizes students for reading.
Vick said the L&M PAGES Award program was launched in October, and prizes recently were awarded.
"We wanted to encourage kids to read," he said.
He said another goal was for students to improve reading scores.
The program was financed by Vick, his wife Christyne and Tink Glenn. And school officials such as English teacher Linda Schukman and librarian Laurie Hunt helped with program.
The award program was named after Vick's son Logan and daughter Marissa, both of whom are graduates of Leavenworth High School. PAGES stands for Pioneers Actively Growing, Educating and Succeeding.
The program was open to students in grades 9 through 11. Awards were given based on the total number of pages from books students read outside of class and improvement in reading scores. The contest period ran through May 1.
Students had to discuss the books they read with a teacher or librarian. Vick said students were asked questions about the books.
Prizes were offered to first-, second- and third-place finishers in each of the three grade levels.
Each first-place prize winner received a Kindle Paperwhite, a device used to read books in a digital format. Each second-place winner received a $50 debit card. Each third-place winner received a $25 debit card.
The prizes were awarded May 2 at the high school.
The first-place prize winner for the freshman class was Echo Arnold. Freshman Allie Fritz came in second place, and Raine Vargas was in third place.
The first-place winner for the sophomore class was Devin Pollard. Sophomore William Lawson came in second. There was no third-place finisher in the sophomore class. Vick said the $25 debit card prize for third place was presented to the librarian.
The first-place winner for the junior class was Jay Johnson. Junior Cali Everett came in second, and Mikal Adkins was in third place.
According to Hunt, a total of 15 students participated in the program. The participants read 132 books for a combined 49,123 pages.
"We didn't know if anyone would jump on this at all," Vick said.
He said a plaque with the names of the first-place winners is displayed in Main Street, which is the main hallway at Leavenworth High School. He said the award program will continue next year.