Members of the club are completing their yearly mission to deliver a dictionary to every third-grader in both the Cleveland and Bradley County school systems. Dictionaries will also be delivered to Tennessee Christian Preparatory School. In total, 17 schools will receive dictionaries.
Project coordinator Bill Creech said the dictionaries given to the students are specifically designed for third-grade students. Creech said approximately 65 members of the club participate in the project.
Teams have already made several stops. At each school, Rotarians explain special elements of the dictionaries and how to use them.
Third-graders at Mayfield Elementary school received their dictionaries on Thursday. Many were excited to have a dictionary of their very own, and immediately began looking through it. On the first page of each dictionary Rotary Interact high school club members place a sticker with the Rotary Four-Way Test and a place to put their name.
During the dictionary presentation, Rotarian Don Ritzhaupt introduced students to the Four Way Test: Is it true? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned?
Ritzhaupt also asked the Mayfield students to guess how many words were in the dictionary.
One student guessed 100,000.
“A [guess of] 100,000 is interesting because in the English language right now the number of active words that a person like yourself might normally use is approximately 147,000,” Ritzhaupt said.
The project has been a staple of the Rotary club’s community effort for the past seven years.
Creech said it is great to see the students’ reactions.
“It’s just a fun thing to do,” Creech said.
In addition to approximately 32,000 to 33,000 words and definitions, the dictionaries also include maps, facts about past presidents, and charts for the American Sign Language and Braille alphabets. One popular element of the book is the longest word. The longest word is a technical term for a specific formula and it has more than 1,000 letters.
About 85 percent of the classes that receive dictionaries write thank you letters to the Rotary Club. These letters are sometimes read at the Rotary Club of Cleveland meetings.