After each third grader at Economy Elementary School was equipped with a new dictionary, Jim Hahn of the Ambridge Rotary Club tested the group`s research ability.
`Can you name the president …`
`Oooh-Oooh-Oooh!` Children raised their hands and begged urgently for the opportunity to answer. `Obama,` responded the chorus.
`… who was born in Pennsylvania?`
`George Bush … George Washington … Abraham Lincoln,` they shouted.
Hahn offered a clue as the kids frantically turned pages: The Pennsylvanian`s first name was James.
`James Madison … James Monroe … James Polk … James Carter Jr.`
Not everyone found the proper page.
`James Adams … James Bush.`
Paige produced the correct answer, James Buchanan, and was awarded $1.
`See. There`s money in the dictionary,` Hahn, president of the Rotarians, said.
The Ambridge Rotary presented dictionaries Tuesday to 245 third-grade pupils in the Ambridge Area School District. The Rotarians, accompanied by Superintendent Erv Weischedel, who is also a Rotarian, traveled from Highland Avenue to State Street to Economy elementary schools.
The paperback dictionaries included presidential biographies; sections on the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution; information on the planets, stars and continents; weights and measures; and maps.
The Rotarians intend to return each year to present dictionaries to third graders.
`Not everyone has Internet access,` he said. `This way, every child will have a dictionary, and all that learning, in his hands.`
Principal Sandra Rudar urged the children to become familiar with their new books.
`It`s a very valuable gift,` she said. `I`ve used one all my life, and I know you will do the same.`
Haun asked the children not to open them until every dictionary was distributed. It was a difficult request.
`I`m so eager,` Brendan said.
Emma found Pennsylvania on the cover photo of the Earth, taken from space. Dylan found the alphabet printed in tiny letters on the books spine.
`If you can read a dictionary, why do you need to see the alphabet?` Brendan asked.
When given the opportunity, Dylan and Hailie both said they were going to look for information on the 50 states. Brendan said he wanted to see `the longest word I can find.`
Owen wanted to research the presidents. James Adams and James Bush would be proud.