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‘Gift of knowledge’ delivered during annual Dictionary Day

By Staff | Oct 15, 2009

Dictionary Day, an annual tradition for Rotary Clubs across the country, returned to The Sanibel School last Friday morning, with each student enrolled in the school’s pair of third grade classes receiving a free softcover dictionary.

“These dictionaries are yours… yours to keep! They don’t belong to the school, they belong to you,” said Rotarian John Carney, who helped deliver dozens of books along with fellow club members Lee Almas, Alex Werner, Emily Kletziem, Adair Heath, Mike Raab and Shirley Jewell.

“These dictionaries have much more than words in them,” Almas, the local Rotary Club president, told Julie Wappes’ class. “They’re filled with lots of fun information and interesting facts in them.”

As the Rotarians distributed the books, the youngsters began flipping through their dictionaries as they attempted to find the longest word in the English language (as requested by Werner). They were also asked to write their own names on the title page.

“I have three grandchildren up in Michigan, and one of them is in the third grade right now,” Carney told the students. “He wrote his name inside his dictionary, too.”

During their visit to Wappes’ and Renae Atkinson’s classes, principal Barbara Von Harten asked all of the children to say “Thank you” to the Rotary Club, which already has an ongoing presence at The Sanibel School. She reminded the group about “The Four-Way Test” banner which hangs in the school’s cafetorium, which Carney recited to them:

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build good will and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

“There are a lot of enhancements here at the school that we enjoy only through the generosity of your club,” Von Harten said to the club members afterward. “We wouldn’t be a National Blue Ribbon School without your support.”

Each year, the 13 Rotary Clubs in District 6960 hand out brand new dictionaries to excited children throughout Lee County. The individual clubs order and pay for the English and bilingual dictionaries. On Oct. 2, Rotarians distributed books at elementary schools across the county.

Phyllis Shelton, a member of the Rotary Club of Cape Coral North, said her group of volunteers were responsible for handing out dictionaries at Patriot Elementary, Hector A. Cafferata Elementary, Trafalgar Elementary and Christa McAuliffe Elementary.

“Most of these children expect to be using their dictionaries through the rest of their school years,” she said.

Kym Bisbe, media specialist at Trafalgar Elementary, said the school has been receiving dictionaries from Rotary for the last seven years.

“They use them for homework, class work and a lot of the kids keep them in their backpacks,” said Bisbe.

According to Almas, more than 10,000 dictionaries were handed out this year in Rotary District 6960.

“I couldn’t live without my Rotary dictionary,” added Wappes. “I think it’s the most powerful learning tool we have.”