Rotary Club of Hudson Gives Gift of Words to McDowell Students

Thanks to a donation earlier this month from the Rotary Club of Hudson, every third-grader at McDowell Elementary School has their very own, brand new, soft bound, 524-page dictionary. The club donated the 360 dictionaries, which also contain the entire U.S. Constitution and a variety of other amenities, through the international Dictionary Project. According to the project’s website at, dictionaries are available for donation to third-grade students to help promote literacy, communication, education, career and personal growth, self confidence and preservation of language wealth. “We didn’t do this alone,” said Jimmy Sutphin, past rotary president who spearheaded the project. Sutphin credits his daughter, Mary, a third-grade teacher in Rocky River, for helping get the project off the ground. Mary’s students received the dictionaries from their local rotary club, Sutphin said. “The kids loved them,” Mary told her dad. Mary asked her dad if the rotary had donated the available dictionaries to Hudson students, which it had not. The Rotary Club of Hudson then agreed to purchase “the cordless spell check” for the Hudson third-graders, Sutphin said. “I felt very good about it because of how receptive the Superintendent [Phil Herman] and principal was,” Sutphin said. The front of each blue-covered dictionary is emblazoned with a picture of the globe. The first page of each dictionary contains a tag, stating it was donated by the club and an area where the students can write their name, Sutphin said. The books are the property of each student to keep. “I thought it was generous and was very grateful,” McDowell Principal Mark Leventhal, said. “I thought it was great having the Rotary Club of Hudson make this generous donation.” Leventhal said he likes the donation label the Rotary Club added on the first page of each book which contains the “four way test,” Leventhal said. The test asks: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships, and will it be beneficial to all concerned? “I like the label that was placed on the inside front cover of the dictionaries,” Leventhal said. “The label embodies McDowell’s philosophies and ties in nicely with our Leader in Me initiative.” So far about 60 students have sent “thank you” letters to the Rotary Club of Hudson, Sutphin said. “We had over 300 kids, so there are probably more coming,” he said. This is the first time the club has donated dictionaries to the district. However, it will not be the last. “I think we are going to do this every year,” Sutphin said. “These kids will move on to the fourth grade so next year we’ll do it again and again — we’re going to do it forever.”