One of the most valuable programs of the Derby-Shelton Rotary Club is the Dictionary Project. The goal of this program is to assist all third grade students to complete the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing the students with their own personal dictionaries. The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come. Rotarians visit each of the schools and present students with their own personal copies of the books and to stress the importance of the books.
The project was inspired by the 2003 Club President Michael Santa. Santa said “Not everyone has a computer, but if you have a dictionary and a pen, you can go a long way”.
Charles O. Priddle, President of the club at the time said “Every third grade student in the cities of Derby and Shelton will receive a dictionary and the response from the teachers and students has been overwhelming”.
Third graders in eleven schools were the recipients of 666 dictionaries donated and presented by the club’s Rotarians in that first year, and new dictionaries are distributed at the start of every new school year. Kim Ryan Caro currently coordinates the program.