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La Vega ISD school installs book vending machine

The book machine at La Vega Primary Phil Bancale Campus is used to promote good behavior and literacy.

WACO, Texas — A new type of vending machine was recently installed at one La Vega ISD school.

But instead of soft drinks and snacks, you'll find more than 100 books in both English and Spanish at the vending machine at La Vega Primary Phil Bancale Campus.

"They stop and they look in awe at it," said Principal Lisa Seawright.  "At this age, our students are just learning to read. And we need to teach them the love of reading,"

The vending machine was paid for by funds through the La Vega Pirates Education Foundation in memory of Ms. Lillian Bancale. Lillian and her husband Phil were avid reading volunteers at the school before they passed away in 2021.

Principal Seawright explained how the machine works.

"So students on our campus are recognized for using helping hands kind words with BUG awards. We call them BUG awards. It's being unusually good. And when they accumulate two BUG awards they get a token for the vending machine," Principal Seawright said.

Channel 6 followed along as three kids, Kayden, Rekae, and Amelia redeemed their tokens.

"I love that they get so excited about reading. They get to take the book home sit with their families read with their family," Katie Alford, a teacher, said.

Alford said since the book machine's installation in February, she's already seen a big change in her student's actions.

"I think the book machine has really helped them think about ways they can make better choices and be kinder," Alford said.

The school is currently looking for businesses or organizations to sponsor more books for the machine.

The machine can hold 144 books and 336 books have been purchased since January.

According to the La Vega Pirates Education Foundation H-E-B donated 144 books and the children of Mr. And Mrs. Bancale Michael Bancale and Angela Carey, as well as Ms. Carla Shields and Dr. Sharon  Shields, have each sponsored an additional $500.00 to purchased additional books for the machine.

If you would like to become a book sponsor, reach out to Allison Vrana, the foundation's executive director at 254-299-6729 or at allison.vrana@lavegaisd.org.

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