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Fortuna third graders receive personalized dictionaries

FORTUNA- Third grade students at Ambrosini Elementary got a surprise on Friday, just in time for Christmas.

“I had no clue at all,” Third Grader Tyler Schlesiger said.

The students were given dictionaries of their very own from the Fortuna Sunrise and Noon Rotary Clubs.

“Each of them has a rotary label on the inside with their name and the biggest enjoyment is when you read their names and you see their faces light up when they actually receive the dictionary,” Sunrise Rotarian Peter Fennell said. “That's a big thing.”

The clubs gave out 375 dictionaries this year to students across the Eel River Valley. The project was started 20 years ago by a rotary in Santa Rosa, and quickly spread to the North Coast. Now 48 local rotaries give out dictionaries to third graders every year.

“It's special for the kids to have something of their own that they can take with them into fourth grade and then on into the middle school, and even into high school and the rest of their lives,” Abrosini Elementary Principal Amy Betts said. “So, it’s just a really special moment and like you can see they joy on the kids face today when they got them, so, it's special to be a part of.”

It’s a day they will remember well on into their teen years. Student volunteers from Fortuna High School were present for the dictionary distribution and recounted their own fond memories of that special day.

“I just remember, I was just like these little kids,” Fortuna High Student Ben Flackus said. “I was really excited because we had been learning about dictionaries and stuff and it was just a pretty cool day.”

And for the third graders at Ambrosini, they say they will keep their dictionaries forever.