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Marks 12th year of service


Staff writer

Members of the Prince Frederick Rotary Club visited five area elementary schools this week as part of a project to distribute dictionaries to all county public school third-graders.

In keeping with the 12-year tradition, Rotary Club member Eugene M. Karol, who also is president of the Calvert County Board of Education, passed out copies of “A Student’s Dictionary” to Mt. Harmony Elementary School third-graders Tuesday afternoon.

“What we are is a service club,” Karol told the students. “In other words, our job is to do good things.”

Individual Rotary Clubs are part of Rotary International. The first Rotary Club was started in Chicago in 1905 by a group of businessmen, according to the Rotary International website. One of Rotary’s biggest contributions, Karol said, was its fight against polio by donating millions of dollars and providing vaccinations all over the world. Unfortunately, Karol said, “we’re starting to worry again,” as recent cases have contributed to an outbreak in Syria during the past few weeks.

Locally, Karol said, the club provides services to the community, such as providing college scholarships to graduating seniors each year and supporting local nonprofits.

“We serve others and don’t expect anything in return.”

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, Karol said the members ask themselves some “important questions.”

“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 recited to the students. “It is important that we live by that four-way test.”

Then, Karol asked the students to find the word “beneficial” in their new dictionaries. Most of the students flipped to the correct page and proudly 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 elements, the Declaration of Independence, maps of the world, the planets and the longest word.

Karol said his favorite part of the process was seeing the students’ “eyes light up.”

“It’s amazing how good they are at looking up words,” Karol said.

The Rotary Club also visited Huntingtown, Barstow, St. Leonard and Dowell elementary schools Thursday. They will continue by handing out dictionaries to Our Lady Star of the Sea School and Appeal and Mutual elementary students today and Calvert Elementary students Tuesday.