Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving

At this time of the year, it is important to stop and give thanks for all that we have. At The Dictionary Project, we are truly thankful for all of the sponsors who have given their time and resources to ensure that students in their communities have received a dictionary, a tool that will help the students succeed in their education and ultimately, in their lives. In the twenty years since The Dictionary Project began, over 26,000,000 students have received the gift of a dictionary from people in their community who want students to excel. The Dictionary Project could not have reached so many students without the support of its sponsors – organizations, businesses, schools and individuals – with their unique contributions. One such individual is Mary Sherwood who has distributed nearly 3,000 dictionaries since beginning her project.

Dear Mary French,

I’m sending 3 pictures: one is my granddaughter, Alexandra Sherwood, and me with the 3rd graders at Medina Elementary School. They have on their Pilgrims and Indians hats for Thanksgiving. Another  is the Spring Branch ISD representative and I in front of memorial Drive Elementary School’s four classes of 3rd grade students, involved in a game  to look up words with their new dictionaries.This is the school my sons attended in 1963-1969, and where I have voted for the past 60 years.The third picture is the 3rd grade class at Bracken Christian School where I have been going for 9 years.

I became interested in The Dictionary Project through Ormonde and Margaret Smith, who read about it in the Wall Street Journal when they were in their 80’s. The Smiths made it possible for 2300 3rd graders in the Spring Branch ISD in Texas to have their own dictionaries each year for 15 years; and continued to do this well into their 90’s. I was inspired by their energy and dedication. The response of teachers and students to the gift of dictionaries has further inspired me to expand my giving to 2 Houston ISD schools: Briarmeadow, a Charter school, and Sutton Elementary, which last year had seven 3rd grade classes, and this year has nine 3rd grade classes. I don’t know where they put all the students.

Ten years ago, I also started giving dictionaries to parochial schools in the Kerrville area, where the local Rotary Club and the Republican Women alternate years giving dictionaries to the Kerrville ISD third grades. The project then expanded to include Notre Dame Catholic School and 7th Day Adventist School in Kerrville, and Bracken Christian School in Bulverde, Texas. I added Utopia ISD, Junction, and Medina ISD. The teachers grow more enthusiastic as they realize how useful the books are to both students and teachers, how much the children love them, and how the second graders look forward to getting to the 3rd grade when they will get their own dictionary.

It truly gives me hope for the future when I see how eager the 8 year old students are to learn. For many of them, English is a second language, and the dictionary is the only book in their home. I am thankful for the opportunities that The Dictionary Project has given me to have an impact on these young lives.

Blessings,

Mary Sherwood

The Dictionary Project is comprised of ordinary people who value education and want to promote its growth. Mary Sherwood is an example of a woman who has helped us implement the program where she lives. We are proud to be part of the good work she does in her community to steadfastly improve the quality of life for everyone.

To all of our sponsors, thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!