An auditorium full of excited third graders anxiously awaited their turn to receive a dictionary during the presentation assembly on Friday at the Chartiers Valley Intermediate School.
Tim Young, a retired CV principal and math teacher who is now an active Rotarian and Collier Township commissioner, opened the assembly and introduced Dr. Kay Phanse, president of the Carnegie-Collier Rotary Club.
“I was born in India and never had a dictionary, or a school," Phanse said. "We had to learn sitting on the floor."
The Rotary Club’s mission is “service above self” and Dr. Phanse started the dictionary distribution last year to promote literacy. They raised funds through a wine tasting event in September.
The Children’s Dictionary from Scholastic is developmentally appropriate for this age as it has over 1,000 photos and illustrations as well as references including maps, information on the world’s countries, U.S. presidents, and more. The students will use the dictionaries in the classroom and at the end of the year, they can take them home to keep and use throughout their education.
In addition to several Rotarians, students from the CV High School Interact Club demonstrated their mission of community service and helped present the dictionaries to the boys and girls. In assembly-line style, the dictionaries were distributed by classroom and the students returned to their seats. The room was far from quiet.
“They’re all talking about and looking at their dictionaries,” said Leslie Fields, Chartiers Valley Intermediate Principal, who excused the noise for a good reason.
The Rotary Club will also be presenting the Children’s Dictionaries to third graders at Carlynton on Nov. 10.
“I thought this was a good project to promote learning," Dr. Phanse said. "They have such a great opportunity to learn at this age."
The Rotary Club also sponsors a Spelling Bee for fourth graders and has just started a program distributing backpacks full of food for students on the free or reduced lunch program to take home on weekends.
As the students returned to their classrooms with their noses in their books, the Rotarians packed up, ready to plan their next service endeavor.
“We put a lot of effort and money into these projects, but the smile on the kids’ faces is priceless,” Dr. Phanse said.