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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — What do you think the chances would be that brand new dictionaries handed out to Colfax Elementary third graders would cause quite a lot of excitement?
If you said the chances were good — you’d be right.
Students in third grade classes at Colfax Elementary taught by Kirk Secraw, Nancy Hovde and Jeanette Kiekhafer all received brand new dictionaries October 29 courtesy of Marilyn Fanetti representing the Menomonie Optimist Club.
The Menomonie Optimists have given new dictionaries to every third grade student in Dunn County, including homeschooled students, for many years, Fanetti said.
In fact, Fanetti said, when she speaks to high school seniors who are about to graduate, they will tell her they still have the dictionaries they received from the Optimist Club in third grade.
After Fanetti made sure each student had a dictionary, she asked them to look up the word “optimist.”
The dictionaries — titled “A Student’s Dictionary & Gazetteer” (24th edition) — is copyrighted 2019 by The Dictionary Project, Inc.
The student dictionary defines “optimist” as “one who looks on the bright side of things, positive thinking.”
People should always try to be optimistic because life goes better when you think positively, Fanetti said.
After the students had found the word “optimist,” Fanetti chose one student to read the definition.
The students also were astounded to see the longest word in the English language included in the dictionary.
According to the dictionary, “This word consists of 1,909 letters. It is the term for the formula C1289H2051N3430375S8. A Tryptophan synthetase A protein, an enzyme that has 264 amino acids.”
The dictionary the students received also includes the Periodic Table of the Elements, the multiplication table and Roman numerals.
In addition, the dictionary includes information about the United States flag, civics, and includes the Declaration of Independence as well as the United States Constitution.
The dictionary also includes information about each of the 45 presidents of the United States and information about each of the 50 states.
Information about countries and their locations is included, too.
And the students were excited to learn that the dictionary has a page about sign language.
Before Fanetti left the students, she asked each of them to tell her their names.
“I like to know your names,” she said.
As Fanetti left each of the classrooms, the students were happily occupied with making new discoveries about their dictionaries.
Fanetti also raises pumpkins.
If you have driven to Menomonie on county Highway B, you have most likely noticed the display of Fanetti’s pumpkins not far from the Exit 45 Restaurant.
Since the dictionaries were delivered to Colfax students two days before Halloween, Fanetti also brought pumpkins for each of the third graders.