Newtown Rotary Dictionary Project Comes Full Circle as Club Members Distribute Books to Rock Third Graders

NEWTOWN – Eight years ago, Jennifer Salvatore was in third grade and received a dictionary from the Newtown Rotary Club. Today, she is a sophomore at Council Rock North High School and a member of the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club. Recently, she went with her father, Rotarian Paul Salvatore, to help distribute dictionaries to this year’s third graders.

Jennifer remembers: “My class was the first to get a dictionary… They told us to look in the back of the book because in the back was the longest word. It took up the whole page. All the kids were so amazed by it even my dad couldn’t pronounce it. The letter I wrote to my dad and Rotarian Bill Kolenda to thank the Rotary Club hangs on the wall in my family room with a picture of me from third grade. I still have the dictionary to this day. ”

John Tyrol, Owner of Tyrol Insurance Agency and Chair of the Dictionary Project, explained that during the last eight years, Newtown Rotarians handed out almost 9,000 dictionaries to area third graders to help them understand the importance of reading skills.

“We get dozens of thank-you letters from the children each year,” said Tyrol. “Children that can read better, do better in school and that will benefit them throughout their lives.”

Jessica VanderKam became a Rotarian recently. She and former Rotarian Richard Danese, both Newtown attorneys at Stuckert and Yates, visited Wrightstown Elementary School to distribute the dictionaries and a bit of Halloween candy.

“The kids were fantastic,” said VanderKam. “it [sic] was so neat to see how excited they were to receive a dictionary as a gift. And it was even better to see how enthusiastic and capable they were putting it to use right away when they looked up words like ghost, pumpkin and vampire.”

Laura Jones-Morales, another Rotarian and the Newtown Branch Manager for First Federal Bank of Bucks County, summed up her experience with the students at Rolling Hills Elementary: “The kids were wonderful! They were really excited about receiving their very own dictionaries and immediately started to look up words. The children really stole my heart and I look forward to doing it again next year.”

Rotary International is the world’s first service club organization. Its more than 1.2 million members volunteer their time and talent to further the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self”. [sic] The Newtown Rotary Club, founded in 1953, has served the local and international communities for over 60 years.