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Rotarians give dictionaries to Washington Co. third-graders

September 16, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HALFWAY -- Turning the pages of her new dictionary, Shyann Winebrenner said she already knew a few words she wanted to find.

"Ice cream, recess and reading," the Hickory Elementary School third-grader said.

Shyann was one of about 30 third-graders at the school who received dictionaries Monday.

Every public and private school third-grader in Washington County will receive a dictionary from local Rotary clubs.

It is the fifth year dictionaries have been donated by the service club, said Melinda Golden, Rotary International Assistant Governor for District 7350 and past president of Hancock's Rotary club. District 7350 includes parts of West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Five local Rotary clubs participated. They were Hagerstown, Hagerstown Sunrise, Hancock, Long Meadow and Williamsport.

The clubs have donated more than 10,000 dictionaries to students in five years.

"In this day and age of DVDs, video games and text messaging, it's very important that we put books in front of students, especially a dictionary," Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said.

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Hickory Elementary students were the first in Washington County to receive their dictionaries, and officials took the opportunity to congratulate them for a recent national honor. The school was one of 320 nationwide that were named National Blue Ribbon schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

Hickory Elementary third-graders even had a homework assignment Monday related to their national honor. Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Michael Markoe asked the students to look up the word "excellence" in their dictionaries and write a sentence using the word and the name of their school.

Markoe thanked the local Rotary clubs for their "wonderful contribution."

Jordan Gardner, 8, said the dictionary she received Monday was her first, and she plans to take it home and put it on her bookshelf.

"I'll use it to look up long words I don't know," Jordan said.

Austin Sikes, 7, said the dictionary had a lot of words in it, but he thought he could learn them all with time. He said it was his first dictionary.

Alexsis Reibert, 8, said she wants to look up the words magnet and tulip, and said her new dictionary will help her learn new words.

"I get to use it all the time, and it's mine," Alexsis said.

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