Teacher Maria Gomez helps students find the second of two words, important. In the background, Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell assists other students. When she relayed her sample sentence, Ezzell told the students that each and every one of them were important. (Jessica Palmer Photo)
Tuesday was Dictionary Day for Dexter, Hagerman and Lake Arthur students, with the Chaves County Republican Women and Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell (R-58). The program for distributing dictionaries to third-grade students started in 2003.
Elaine Nibert, literacy chairman, explained that the group ordered between 70 to 80 books for Dexter, 35 for Hagerman and 12 for Lake Arthur. The books are supplied by the Dictionary Project, located in Sullivan Island, S.C.
Rep. Ezzell has been with the project from its inception. A total of four third-grade classes gathered in the Dexter Elementary School cafeteria to receive their dictionaries. The students cheered when they learned about the gifts.
CCRW President Joan Boué said: “For many, these may be the first books they’ve ever owned.”
Ezzell told the students to be sure and write their names on the inside covers and then instructed them in their use. However, their teachers made sure they were prepared.
The first word the groups had to look up was “spectacular.” She spelled the word. Teachers, Principal Kathy Galloway and Dexter Superintendent Lesa Dodd circulated around the room to help them with their task.
Then Ezzell read the definition and used it in a sentence, asking the children to do the same. There were hands up all the way around as the students used “spectacular” in a sentence of their own making.
Ezzell gave them a brief tour of the dictionary, starting with the last page where the dictionary had the longest word in the English language. The word filled an entire page and beat Disney’s “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” by at least 30 lines.
She also pointed out pages that listed all the planets, the countries of the world, the continents and other fun facts.
Joan Ingram, CCRW Telephone chairman, said she enjoyed the event. “I’m a firm believer in dictionaries and I love to watch their faces light up when they receive their books.”
Dodd thanked the members of CCRW for their contribution to the children’s education. “We appreciate you all for coming down. This is great.”
As the first of three stops drew to a close, numerous students approached the women to shake their hands and give them individual thanks for the gift of words.
At the end of the event, Ezzell told the students that the next graduating class was the first to receive dictionaries. “I’m very proud of our Valley schools. Our schools are the best because the parents stay involved.”