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Rotary clubs deliver dictionaries to classes

On Wednesday afternoon, third grade students at Aquadale Elementary School were among those throughout Stanly County to receive copies of “A Student’s Dictionary and Gazetteer,” courtesy of the Rotary clubs of Albemarle and West Stanly, and part of The Dictionary Project, a charitable organization based in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Dictionary Project was founded by Mary French in 1995 to provide personal copies of a dictionary for third grade students in the South Carolina public school system, and has since grown into a national organization, supported throughout the country by Rotary International.

This marks the seventh consecutive year that the two clubs in Stanly County have provided this reference aid for students.
Rotarians Peter Asciutto and Dr. Eric Johnsen presented the books to students in Aquadale’s three third-grade classes.
“We have distributed approximately 700 of these this year,” said Asciutto. “And since we started we have placed these in the hands of over 4,000 Stanly County students.”

In addition to a traditional dictionary, the publication features a wide range of additional topics including history (biographies of U.S. presidents, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution), geography (maps of the seven continents, demographic information on all 50 states), mathematics (multiplication tables, weights and measures) and science (periodic table of the elements, planets, the water cycle).

According to teacher Angela Lisk, the publication will be of immediate assistance to students in completing one upcoming assignment.

“One of our assignments later in the year will be to write a biography, and many students choose to write a biography of the president,” Lisk said. “With this (the Dictionary and Gazetteer), students will have access to information on all the presidents.”

In the classroom, Asciutto and Johnsen gave students from the three classes an overview of the information available in the book, as well as an impromptu quiz.

“Name the fifth longest river in the world,” challenged Johnsen, as the students thumbed through the pages to locate the appropriate information. (Answer: the Yenisey-Angara, in Russia, at 3,448 miles).

“What is the capital of Nebraska?” asked Asciutto, prompting another student to locate the correct answer (Lincoln) on page 446.

Aquadale Principal Joy Hathcock expressed appreciation for the visit and distribution and noted that students without internet access or home computers will find the publications especially valuable.

“We encourage our students to use what’s available to them,” she said. “These will be very helpful.”

Toby Thorpe is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.