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Around The Grange
Wolf Den, Senexet donate dictionaries

By Chenoa Pierce, Villager Staff Writer

  DECEMBER 2008 -- Local third graders received an unexpected surprise as members of the Senexet Grange in Woodstock and Wolf Den Grange in Pomfret stopped by their schools Tuesday, Oct. 28 to give each student their very own dictionary.
The visits were part of a nationwide program started five years ago that gives dictionaries to third graders every year.  The dictionaries are to be kept at school during the year; unless otherwise specified by the teacher.  at the end of the year, the students get to take the dictionary home.
“These are for them to keep; they’re not just donated to the school,” said Senexet Grange member Tom Perry, who was on hand at Putnam Elementary School to help deliver the dictionaries to the four third-grade classes there with his wife Debby and mom Joan.  A total of 97 dictionaries were given out at the school.
All together, more than 250 dictionaries were given out to third-graders this year at Putnam Elementary School and St. Mary School in Putnam, Woodstock Elementary School and Pomfret Community School.
Each dictionary comes complete with a special place for every third grader to write his or her name, which was the first thing Joan Perry pointed out to the children when visiting the classrooms.  She also pointed out the U.S.A. map of states and capitals, the Roman numerals chart, cursive writing helper and the five big words sections at the back of each dictionary.
“We always point that out,” said Tom Perry of the five big words, noting that Mary Poppin’s word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” - the word to say when there is nothing to say- is included in the dictionary.
According to Tom Perry, the dictionary may be small, but the knowledge contained within is priceless.
“It’s a very simple dictionary, but it’s got everything” they need, he said.
The Senexet Grange got involved in the Dictionary Project during its inception, though not all of the schools they now give dictionaries were recipients at first.
“[This is the] second year for the dictionary project,” said Tom Perry.
This is also the first year the Wolf Den Grange in Pomfret has climbed on board with the project.  Members from the Senexet Grange have handed out dictionaries to Pomfret Community School in the past.
Wolf Den Grange member Sybil Williams visited Pomfret Community School with Tom Perry and Joan Perry.  According to Joan, it was through her encouragement that the Wolf Den Grange got involved.
“We have given to Pomfret in the past,” Joan Perry said.  “I encouraged them to take over.”
The Wolf Den Grange gave out a total of 54 dictionaries to the three third-grade classes at Pomfret Community School and, much like the students at Putnam Elementary School, the PCS students were thrilled with their gifts.
Even the teachers get excited about the dictionaries.
“This is the perfect age for this because they are so interested,” said Dana Heilemann, third-grade teacher at Pomfret Community School.
And the children love it when the Grange members stop by.
“Most of the time, it’s a surprise,” said Joan Perry.
The responses always come as a surprise to the Grange members as well.

“You wouldn’t expect this much excitement [about a dictionary],” said Tom Perry.
For more information about the Dictionary Project, visit www.thedictionaryproject.com.
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