More than 1,200 local students benefitted from the Kiwanis Club of Apex’s dictionary project

When Chuck Russitano recently received a pile of thank-you letters from students at Rand Road Elementary School in Garner, the Kiwanis Club of Apex member was most confident about one thing.

He was sure there wouldn’t be any spelling errors.

More than 1,200 third grade students from Garner and Apex received free dictionaries as part of an annual Kiwanis project organized by Russitano.

Over the past few weeks, Russitano distributed the dictionaries to students at five schools in Apex and three more in Garner.

It is a project that stays faithful to the Kiwanis motto of “serving the children of the world.”

“We are an organization that helps children worldwide with monetary needs or medicinal needs,” said Russitano. “We are also involved in many local projects. We will provide anything they need to help them stay on the straight and narrow.”

The club donates 1,200 dictionaries annually from money raised through donations, a golf tournament and various other fundraisers.

While distributing dictionaries at Olive Chapel Elementary School in Apex, Russitano and fellow Kiwanis member Indra Lahiri had the students look up the word “honest.”

“Always be honest, to yourself and to everyone else,” Lahiri told the children. “Never stray from the path of honesty.”

Olive Chapel teacher and Garner resident Kathy Evans said the dictionary project has benefitted thousands of local students through the years.

“They really love receiving these dictionaries,” said Evans. “The first thing we do is have them write their name on (the inside cover). The dictionary is for them to keep and it is something they can still use as they get older.”

As the students thumbed through their newest possession, Evans marveled at the amount and variety of information contained inside.

“You can read about each president, you can look up information about all 50 states and there is even a section on weights and measurements,” said Evans. “You could teach right from this book.”

Russitano said the club is always looking for more members who would like to help their community.

“We have 20 members now and we are growing,” said Russitano. “We always welcome new members as well as donations. Our projects are all about helping the children.”

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