Gifts give new meaning to learning for area students

September 12, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Seconds after receiving their new dictionaries Tuesday, many students were flipping the pages to look up the word "hero."

It was a homework assignment from Michael Markoe, acting assistant superintendent for elementary instruction for Washington County Public Schools.

"We're going to look up hero, because a lot of people were heroes on that day," he said, referring to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The dictionaries were given to all third-graders at Fountaindale School for Arts and Academic Excellence Tuesday by local Rotary clubs. The clubs will distribute the dictionaries to every public and private school student in Washington County.

Rotary International has sponsored the project annually and has distributed 6,000 dictionaries to area students in three years.

Five local Rotary clubs participated: Hagerstown, Hagerstown Sunrise, Hancock, Long Meadow and Williamsport. Hagerstown Community College donated a bookmark for each student, and Hub Labels donated labels for each dictionary.


Eight-year-old Samantha Patrick, a third-grader at Fountaindale, said that before she received a new dictionary Tuesday, she and her sister shared one at home.

"We have certain times we use it," she said. "We take turns."

Samantha said that, like many of her classmates, "hero" was the first word she looked up.

"It means someone who takes care of you," she said. "And helps you do stuff if you have a problem."

Cody Michael, a third-grader at Fountaindale, said his new dictionary will help him in school. He said the dictionary he keeps at home is older and harder to read than the new one he received from the Rotary clubs.

"I like looking them up and learning new words all the time," he said. "It helps you with your reading."

Jordan Dotson, 9, said he did not have a dictionary at home, but he wanted one so he could learn the meaning of words he learned in school.

"You can learn stuff with this thing," he said pointing to his new dictionary. "You can learn new words."

Erin White, 8, said the dictionary she was holding was her first.

"I'm excited so I can look up words," she said.

She said she'll probably leave the dictionary in her desk at school, so she can use it there when she's writing independently in class.

"My baby brother will tear all of the pages out otherwise," Erin said, noting another reason to keep her new dictionary at school.

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