The Ticonderoga Elks Lodge 1494 presented dictionaries to third grade students at St. Mary’s School. Elk members Mary Lloyd Burroughs and Richard A. Nadeau, PER, delivered the books to teacher Joanne Cook, volunteer Mary Ann Majors and students.
continued Later, while on vacation in South Carolina, the Carrs had an opportunity to meet French, who explained the Dictionary Project in detail. In 2003 the Ti Elks started the program locally.
“It was so successful that in 2004 I brought it to the New York State Elks Association and in 2005 to the grand lodge,” Carr said. “I met with every state president and every state secretary. It really spread across the country and the Elks are a big part of it.”
Civic groups and others support the Dictionary Project nationally with the Elks, having started in Ticonderoga, accounting for 40 percent of all dictionaries given away in the U.S.
“I want to thank the Elks for all their help in introducing the Dictionary Project nationwide to their members,” French said. “Many Elks lodges throughout the United States have joined the Dictionary Project and have distributed several hundred thousand dictionaries to children.
“It is virtuous to work so hard to expand the vocabulary of the children where you live,” she said. “I can’t think of a better investment than putting words into the hands of children.”
Carr eventually became national president of the Elks and remains active nationally. He handed the reins of the Ti Dictionary Project to Nadeau in 2006.
As coordinator of the Ticonderoga Dictionary Project, Nadeau is responsible for raising money to support the purchase of the books, ordering the dictionaries and distributing them to area schools.
“It’s a treat to bring the dictionaries to a class room,” Nadeau said. “We spend a few minutes explaining the dictionaries and we usually ask the students to look up a word. The kids are usually very excited and happy.”
The dictionaries are distributed at the beginning of each school year, but it’s a year-long project. Money needs to be raised each year and the dictionaries are ordered in the spring.