In keeping with its annual program, the Key Peninsula Lions Club distributed free “cordless spell checks” to every third-grader on the Key. While my Lion colleagues were having a ball thrilling the kids with their very own dictionaries, I was on my back in an ophthalmologist’s chair having my eyes scoped.
Where would I rather have been?
Fellow Lion Dan VanAntwerp handled the on-scene photography to record the kids reactions as our crew made the last Friday in September a full day of visiting Vaughn, Evergreen and Minter Creek elementary schools.
Vaughn third-grader Yulya Nichipor said, “I think it’s so nice to have a dictionary of my VERY own. Thank you, Lions club!” Classmate Levi Hook found, “You can learn sign language!”
Hunter Gehrke found, “It has words and so much more in the back.”
“Now I know the longest word,” declared Marissa Timmons. Kiera Mays announced, “I’m going to be so smart!” Said Grady Powell, “I never knew I had so much to learn!” Jorden Rieman promised, “I’m going to learn a new word every day!”
Of his first such mission, VanAntwerp opined, “Reading is education. Education is power. Books provide the foundation for education and for expansive thought. It is gratifying to provide books to children who will genuinely appreciate them and who will use them now and as they mature to empower themselves.”
“Several of my students were so excited when they found out they were getting their own dictionaries,” said Evergreen teacher Therese Souers. “They remember when their siblings got a dictionary in third grade and were happy it was their turn!”
“I thought it was cool,” said Evergreen’s Beckylynn, whose classmate, Kasey, felt the dictionary “was not the most boring book.”
Classmate J.J. promised, “My goal is to read the whole book by the end of the year.”
“My kids were excited to take them home to read,” said Evergreen teacher Ann Brantley.
“I never knew the Lion’s Club did this stuff,” said Evergreen third-grader Marissa.
Now she knows! Wait ‘til next year.
Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.