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Three members of the Prince Frederick Rotary Club visited three area elementary schools as part of a project to distribute dictionaries to all county public school third graders.

In keeping with the 11-year tradition, Rotary Club members Albert Schwencer, Warren Prince and Eugene M. Karol, who is also a Calvert County Board of Education member, passed out copies of “A Student’s Dictionary” to Sunderland Elementary School third graders at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Prince told the students the individual Rotary Clubs are part of the Rotary International. The club first began in Chicago, Ill., in 1905 by a group of businessmen, who called it the Rotary Club because “they would rotate, or trade off, their meeting places” to the businesses represented by the membership, Prince told the students. Now, there are clubs in 233 countries, Prince said, and about 34,000 “Rotarians” worldwide.

Locally, Prince said, the club provides services to the community, “and you’re part of our community and that’s why we are providing this service of giving you a dictionary today.” He said the club also provides four scholarships each year to graduating high school seniors, provides two meals each month to Project ECHO, supports local food banks and provides tax preparation volunteer services.

In the front of the dictionary, Karol said he placed a sticker with the Rotary Club’s “Service Above Self” four-way test. When the club has meetings, Schwencer leads members in the four-way test, which states, “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” Karol told the students. “It is important that we live by that four-way test,” he said.

Then, Karol asked the students to find the word “friendship” in their new dictionaries. Most of the students flipped to the correct page and happily pointed out the word.

“This is much more than a dictionary,” Karol said, and showed the students where, in the Table of Contents, they could find parts of speech, punctuation, a guide to the dictionary, weights and measures, words for large numbers, a periodic table of the elements, the Declaration of Independence, maps of the world, the planets and the longest word.

The Rotary Club also visited Calvert Elementary School Wednesday morning and Mutual Elementary School that afternoon.

kfitzpatrick@somdnews.com