For more than a quarter of a century, the director of the Deseret News-KSL Sterling Scholar Awards program has met thousands of outstanding high school scholars.

And he's met their children, too.As director of the program and associated with the Sterling Scholar Awards since they were established in 1962, Keith D. West has had the chance to meet thousands of young men and women who have been a part of the program.

"Now I'm seeing the second generation," he said.

In recent years, more and more students indicate that their mother or father - or both - were Sterling Scholars. And many of the judges say they were Sterling Scholars while in high school.

West served for many years as co-director with veteran education editor Lavor Chaffin. Since Chaffin's retirement several years ago, West has guided the program.

In addition to receiving national recognition through the International Newspaper Marketing Association for the program, West was honored by the Utah Congress of Parents and Teachers and awarded a lifetime membership for his role.

Helping with the awards program since its establishment has been a part-time assistant, Gwen Seeley. She has helped to schedule interviews, work with judges and serve as director of regional judging.