Kiwanis Club volunteers Jack Lapoint (center floor) and James Henry (right) pose with third-graders for teacher Christi Castro to photograph after giving the kids new dictionaries from the Kiwanis Club for the last time. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Kiwanis club hands out dictionaries for the last time

EVERETT — He told kids that, with a little curiosity, they could be the smartest people in the world.

Jack LaPoint has coordinated the Silver Lake Kiwanis Club’s annual dictionary giveaway for the past 10 years. This year, he and other club members delivered 2,000 dictionaries to third-graders from 26 local elementary schools.

His recent trip to Silver Lake Elementary School was the club’s last. The club disbanded at the beginning of October. Membership had dwindled to nine people.

Though the club had disbanded, the members wanted to fulfill their promise to the kids. LaPoint and other volunteers continued visiting schools until all 2,000 dictionaries were delivered.

“Every year, we always wonder with the advent of new computers if dictionaries are going to be a useful item,” LaPoint said. “So far, they like them.”

LaPoint talked with students about a different kind of computer, a “super computer” that doesn’t require electricity. He pointed to his brain.

“You have a later model,” he told the kids. “You have to take care of it. You can’t bang it around.”

James Henry, a former club member, passed out the dictionaries. One boy held the book and stared up from under his thick-rimmed glasses.

“Can I keep this?” the boy asked.

Henry nodded. The boy opened the front cover and wrote his name.

“This is our gift to you,” LaPoint said. “You will use it your whole life, in third, fourth, fifth grade, middle school, high school, college,”

This comment dropped jaws.

LaPoint flipped through the dictionaries with the class. He pointed out the biographies of U.S. presidents, a copy of the Constitution and one of the longest words in the English language. It’s the chemical name for tryptophan, which is found in turkey meat.

Orion Belleza, 8, wanted to learn how to pronounce the word that is more than 1,000 letters long. He planned to ask his parents first thing when he got home.

Falyssa Ly, 8, was interested in the map of the United States. She has been working on her geography skills.

Though LaPoint is no longer part of a formal organization, he is searching for ways to continue the dictionary giveaway. He hopes to start a new club in Mill Creek.

Over the past 10 years, LaPoint has received letters from third-graders saying they look up something new in a dictionary almost every day. It boosts their curiosity, and that is essential in the learning process, LaPoint said.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192;

More in Local News

Nation’s first coronavirus patient said to be fully recovered

The Snohomish Health District has released the man from home isolation.

Gun-ammunition bill is suffocated by GOP amendments

It’s Day 40 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

Chris Walsh and his wife, Carol, talk outside the Delta Rehabilitation Center about their plans to close the care facility long known as the Snohomish Chalet. Chris is the owner and administrator of the nursing home that cares for people with severe brain injuries. Carol has worked as a nurse there for many years. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Delta Rehabilitation, home to brain injury victims, to close

“There’s no replacement,” head of care facility agency says of place once known as Snohomish Chalet.

A Hamas heir, a nose job, $1.5 million — and global intrigue

An urgent plastic surgery request in Lynnwood may have exposed huge fraud by a Palestinian refugee.

Edmonds School District leaders plan for another school bond

It won’t be in April, but the district could float another bond proposal in August or November.

Boeing asks that its big state tax break be suspended

The company hopes the move will resolve a trade dispute involving European rival Airbus.

Everett defense investigator stripped of license

Witness tampering charges against Michael Powers were dropped, in a deal that ends his career.

Body scanner could replace strip searches in Monroe prison

A new bill suggests using a scanner, like those in airports, to check for contraband on or in people.

High school wrestler steps in after twin faces fight of his life

SULTAN — Tyler Deason was the one his family thought would be competing at the state high school wrestling tournament.

Most Read