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Rotarians distribute dictionaries

By Staff | Oct 8, 2011

Three Rotarians went from classroom to classroom at Gulf Elementary School pushing a library cart full of dictionaries Friday as they handed each third grade student their very own, brand-new dictionary.

The dictionaries were a part of a district wide effort by 13 Rotary Clubs, 825 Rotary members, in Lee County. The members distributed 12,000 dictionaries, including bilingual editions, to all third graders in the district Friday morning as part of “Read Across Lee County.”

Faces lit up and smiles were shared as the students held their book at Gulf Elementary School.

Cyrus Dawson, 8, began hugging his dictionary after he was handed one on Friday as a smile engulfed his face.

“I’m really excited,” he said about receiving a dictionary. “I think dictionaries are pretty cool.”

Cyrus said he will use the dictionary to look up words, really big words.

Others immediately opened the book to the first page to very carefully write their name on the line that stated this dictionary “belongs to.”

Yesenia Fernandez, 9, was one of the many students who immediately opened the dictionary and wrote her name on the front cover.

“It’s nice,” she said about the dictionary.

She enjoys reading and will add the dictionary to the collection of books that she has at home.

Verbal, as well as hand-written thank yous, were also shared with the Rotarians throughout the morning as they traveled from class to class.

“The smiles on their face, it warms my heart,” Rotarian Cindy Cedeno said about the students.

Last year Cedeno handed out dictionaries to all the students in one room at Cape Coral Elementary School, which she enjoyed, but she said she liked the experience she had at Gulf Elementary School.

“Seeing them in their environment is awesome,” she said about visiting 10 third grade classrooms.

Rotarian David Cramer agreed that seeing the smiles on the children’s faces was, by far, the reason he enjoyed handing out the dictionaries.

“It seems they are very excited about the gift, which is nice,” he said.

Last year, Cramer enjoyed the opportunity to hand out dictionaries for the first time at Cape Coral Elementary School, the same school he attended growing up.

Tate Williams, 8, was another student whose face lit up after receiving the dictionary.

“I like it,” he said. The longest word in the English language graced the back of the book, which he thought was the coolest part about the dictionary.

Tate said he will use his very first dictionary to look up words he does not know how to spell.

“Their reaction, it’s like Christmas morning for them,” Rotarian David Vansant said.

He has handed out dictionaries for the past 10 years to students in the district.

Vansant said the fund raisers and events they hold throughout the year allows them to purchase the dictionaries.

Gulf Elementary School third grade teacher Kristine Carter said the dictionaries provided by the Rotary Club will reiterate what they have taught the students in the classroom.

She said it will give the students the opportunity to look at how to pronounce, spell and define a word.

The dictionary also will come in handy because the third grade students are learning about multiple meaning words.

“Words that mean more and words I don’t know they can look up,” Carter said about the students.

She said her students were excited because the dictionary is special to them.

“They love to get something that is all theirs,” Carter said.

Another third grade teacher at Gulf Elementary School, Sandra Parnell, said the dictionaries her students received will make it easier for them while doing their reading work.

“It will make it easier for them to do a lot of their reading work and it will give them something that is theirs because a lot of them don’t have something like this at home,” she said.

The Lee County School District stored the dictionaries for the Rotary Clubs and distributed them to each elementary school before Friday. The 13 separate clubs divided the elementary schools up geographically, so they could send a handful of members to each school.

There are 44 elementary schools in the district, nine of which are in Cape Coral.