Cedar City Rotary Club dictionary project

The Cedar City Rotary Club has been giving third grade students every word in the English language. In fact, club members haven’t just given them to Iron County students, they are giving them to Beaver and Garfield County students as well. They’ve been giving these young people dictionaries.
Last year over a million and a half dictionaries were given away to kids across the nation. The Rotary Club and other organizations distributed the books and continue to keep this tradition because of the benefits they see with the students.
Diana Graff, chairman of this project for the Rotary Club, has been doing this for two years now and enjoys giving to the students.
‘I was a third grade teacher for many years,’ she said. ‘I know they can use these because this is the year they really get into writing. It’s a great project.’
The teachers don’t mind the help. They really appreciate it in fact. Three Peaks Elementary School teacher Krysten Ball loves it for more than one reason.
‘It’s wonderful,’ she said. ‘Being a new school and a new teacher, it’s great to have new things.’
Her students were the first at Three Peaks Elementary to get their dictionaries. The students were excited to get the books, which they will keep at school until the end of the year when they can take them home.
‘It’s awesome because we can learn new things,’ said student Katie of her new dictionary.
Other comments ranged from, ‘We’ll learn new words,’ and ‘We’re going to use our dictionaries every day in class,’ to ‘These dictionaries are going to be great for our class because we can learn lots of new things.’ Watch out, parents! These students mean to learn something.
With the help of Wal-Mart, who helped fund the project, the Rotary Club has been able to accomplish its goal of giving to the students of this area. And it all started a couple years ago. Graff, a member of the Rotary Club, had been a third grade teacher for seven years in Granite School District. She heard about the dictionary project when she visited a web site and was immediately interested.
At www.dictionaryproject.org, she found out that clubs and organizations are helping give dictionaries to students all over the country. She went to the Rotary Club and told them about it.
‘Three years ago I suggested doing a project like that,’ Graff said. ‘(I said) that if they wanted to, I would head it up.’
Unable to get the project started that year, the club asked Graff to do it last year and she did, with spectacular results.
‘When I go back to these teachers, they always ask am I going to do it again,’ said Graff, who loves to go to the schools and present the children with the gift of learning.
According to the web site, ‘the goal of this program is to assist all students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing students with their own personal dictionaries. The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come.’
This statement goes right along with the Rotary Club’s theme of doing good for the community.
‘It’s what we do,’ Graff said. ‘Things like that.’