Rotarians have been giving dictionaries to 3rd graders for many years.  This week we visited one of our favorite schools, Whitney Elementary.  
One of Rotary International’s six areas of focus is “basic education & literacy.”  In respect to this priority, our club has handed out hundreds of dictionaries to 3rd graders in the Boise School District.  This week we visited the kids at Whitney Elementary school.  Our club has a special connection with the school:  Tom Stitzel.  Tom is a Past President (1990-1991) who has volunteered at the school for over 26 years.  Since the beginning, he’s had the pleasure of working with Ms. Jodee McGrady, a third-grade teacher there.  The students, teachers, & administrative team at Whitney have great affection for Tom, calling him “Grandpa Stitzel.”  
A large group of Rotary volunteers visited Ms. McGrady’s class this week.  They included Beth Mahn, Gary Mahn, Tim Bower, Jerry Schroeder, Bryce Whetzell, James Slover, Kevin Allen, & of course Tom Stitzel.  A few other classes filled Ms. McGrady’s room.  Our team handed out 75 dictionaries to students.  We opened the books & President Kevin read the Four Way Test, which was posted on the front page.  Together we looked up the word “goodwill” & talked about what it meant to them.  Next, President Kevin asked “what is the state bird of Idaho?”  Our volunteers helped the kids find the page & we learned that it’s the mountain bluebird.  The last word we looked up happened to be the longest in the English language at 1,909 letters.  The kids found it & several gave it their best shot at pronouncing it.  The event was captured by Dan Hollar, Public Affairs Administrator for the Boise School District.  He created a wonderful video that you can see below.  Thank you to Ms. McGrady, Principal Pinkerman, Dan Hollar, the wonderful teachers at Whitney, our own Susan Mahoney for setting it up, & of course Grandpa Stitzel.  
So far this school year, we’ve given them to nearly 200 kids.  These are no ordinary dictionaries!  They include information about the solar system, our planet, all of the countries in the world, all of the states in the U.S. as well as its constitution & presidents.  It includes the periodic table, how to read braille & sign language, and the longest word in the English language, which contains 1,909 letters!