Newsletter 2015 November

Word of the Month: Plenty

plen·ty /ˈplen(t)ē/

1. noun: a situation in which food and other necessities are available in sufficient quantities.

2. adjective: used to emphasize the degree of something

3. pronoun: a large or sufficient amount or quantity; more than enough

If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Peace, plenty, and contentment reign throughout our borders, and our beloved country presents a sublime moral spectacle to the world.

James K. Polk, 1795 – 1849

If I’m remembered for having done a few good things, and if my presence here has sparked some good energies, that’s plenty.

Sidney Poitier, 1927 –

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 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.


Mary Sherwood

Mary Sherwood with granddaughter Alexandra Sherwood at Medina Elementary School. Students have on their Pilgrims and Indians hats for Thanksgiving.

Spring Branch ISD representative, Mary Sherwood, and 3rd grade students involved in a game to look up words with their new dictionaries.

Mary Sherwood has delivered dictionaries to the 3rd grade class at Bracken Christian School in Bulverde, Texas for 9 years. She hand-writes the name of each student on the cover page.

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!

Delta Kappa Gamma - Omicron Chapter

Dictionary Week in Barrow County School District

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society (DKG) is an international honorary society of key women educators. DKG promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. To help accomplish this goal, the Omicron Chapter distributes dictionaries to students in Barrow County each year. Sheila Hawthorne began the project in 2004 to promote literacy in Barrow County Schools. Since then, DKG – Omicron Chapter members have donated over 14, 000 books to students in Georgia.

Thank-you Letters from Barrow School District

I wanted to take a moment to once again thank you for providing our 3rd Grade students with dictionaries and discussing the dictionary program with them today. It truly is an honor and blessing to know that folks such as yourselves are focused on making a lasting impact on our students. My favorite part of the visit was when some of the students asked for you to autograph their dictionaries! What you do truly is making a difference! THANK YOU!!!

Christopher R. Whitworth, Assistant Principal, Holsenbeck Elementary School, Winder, GA

I have to share couple of responses to the dictionaries. One third grade student came into the media center and I overheard her telling another student that she had gotten a very special dictionary and that it was going to make her very smart. Another was a response from a parent. She just went on and on about how wonderful the dictionaries were and that her child couldn’t put it down. Thank you again for giving such a wonderful gift to our students.

Susan Dubnik, Media Specialist, Kennedy Elementary School, Winder, GA

Fundraising Idea: Holiday Gifts and Decor

The Bellefonte Sunrise Rotary Club is selling holiday evergreens again this year. If you live within 25 mile of Bellefonte, PA, club members will personally deliver wreaths directly to you the week before Thanksgiving.

Rotary Club of Wallkill East Dictionary Presentation

Since 2009, members of the Rotary Club Of Wallkill East have partnered with The Dictionary Project to provide dictionaries to students in Pine Bush Central School District. The club has donated over 3,600 books to local third graders. Please watch the video presentation of club member Dr. Bill Bassett representing the Wallkill East Rotary at E. J. Russell Elementary School.

Lions Clubs Across the Country Promote Educational Development

Lions Clubs International has been a dedicated sponsor of The Dictionary Project for many years. Clubs across the United States have worked diligently to continue their local projects and we greatly appreciate their participation. We would like to highlight a few clubs and the work they have accomplished in their communities.

Marion Lions Club Visit Grant County Schools

Poulsbo Evening Pride Lions Club

The students and teachers were elated receiving their personal dictionary. We had eight schools participate with several split classes of third and fourth grade. Some of the fourth graders remembered and shared what they learned last year. It was so enjoyable and rewarding. Thank you so much for helping us with this program. We look forward to it every year.

Michele Grenier, Poulsbo Evening Pride Lions Club, WA

Members of the Poulsbo Evening Pride Lions Club have participated in The Dictionary Project since 2011, donating over 2,900 dictionaries to third grade students in Kitsap County, Washington. This year the Lions received many warm-hearted thank-you letters from grateful students. We have included several below:



to recognize the value of something.

Everyone appreciate loyal friends.

I appreciate the dictionary.

Dear Lions,

Thank you so much! I realy appreciate the dictionary. It’s realy comeing out handy. I realy love the longest word in the english language.






thoughtful showing or having concern and care for other people and their feelings.

Dear lions

I think you are thoughtful for give us the Dictionary I like the giant word its a good Dictionary thank you.





To feel a great respect for.

I admire a person who is always honest.

Dear Lions,

I admire the Dictionary you gave us. It has everything in it. I realy like how it has all of the presentints.

sincerely Caleb


First Year to Volunteer: The Rotary Club of Highlands

For over 70 years, members of the Highlands Rotary Club have volunteered in their local mountain community. Service projects have included providing free dental screenings at Highlands School, chartering a Rotaract Service Club for young adults and promoting education through college scholarships, to name a few. We are proud to be part of the good work the Highland Rotarians do to improve the quality of life for everyone where they live. Robert Shipp introduced The Dictionary Project to his club this year after visiting several Rotary meetings in Savannah, Ga, where got a firsthand account of the importance of a paperback dictionary. The Rotary Club of Highlands decided to sponsor Highlands Elementary school in Macon County, NC. Teachers and students were thrilled to receive the  gift and expressed their gratitude in colorful thank-you letters.

Cobb Literacy Council Brings Community Together

Since starting the project in 2005, the Cobb Literacy Council has made an impact on the lives of over 35,000 students. This year volunteers were able to touch sixteen elementary and four middle schools in Cobb County, GA. Funding for the project is made possible by Cobb EMC and GAS South, two local businesses which value education and giving back to the community.

Teachers and students were extremely appreciative of their gift. The staff expressed how important a dictionary truly is. It cultivates problem solving, creative thinkers and resourceful learners.

Donna Frankovsky , Cobb Literacy Council Volunteer Coordinator

Pictured: Cobb EMC mascot, Tiko Jones, Cobb EMC’s community relations manager and Diane Shore at Hendricks Elementary School.

Volunteer Linda MacCartney rallied her sorority sisters together and labeled all 3300 books for the project.

It was an amazing community effort all the way around. We are hopeful that we will be able to expand this project in 2016.

Dictionary Projects in the News