Rotarians in Seaside club believe in the importance of literacy and child self-esteem. That’s why for the 2011-2010 school year our Rotarians personally presented dictionaries to 109 fourth grade students at Seaside, Gearhart and Cannon Beach Grade Schools, the Fire Mountain School in Arch Cape and Pleasant View School on Clatsop Plains.
The original idea for the Dictionary Project was born in 1992 when Annie Plummer of Savannah, Georgia gave 50 dictionaries to children at a school near her home. When she died in 1999, she had raised money to provide 17,000 dictionaries to Savannah school children. The Dictionary Project was founded as a non-profit organization in 1995 by Mary and Arno French. Based in Charleston, S. Carolina, The project’s goal was to provide dictionaries to all third grade students in the Charleston area. By 2001, dictionaries were being provided to every third grade student in S. Carolina. The third grade was chosen because that is the age when students begin to learn about dictionaries and doing research. In 2002, the project went nationwide after being featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. To learn more about the Dictionary Project, visit www.dictionaryproject.org.
According to Sandy McDowall, a member of the Rotary Club of Seaside, our club began providing dictionaries to fourth graders in the Seaside School District during the 1995-96 year when Cliff Erickson was president of the club. That makes our club one of the first Rotary sponsors of the project.
In addition to dictionaries, your local Rotary club provides some bicycles, bicycle helmets, backbacks with school supplies, assists with safe high school graduation night, provides a fund for needy students used at the discretion of the principal, and contributes to educating our youth in other ways each year.