Members of the Rio Grande Rotary Club traveled to 25 elementary schools at the beginning of April and handed out free dictionaries to more than 1,900 third-grade students in Las Cruces Public Schools.

Retired NMSU Professor James Cotter and Ken Binkley, president of the Rio Grande Rotary Club, hand out free dictionaries to third-grade students at University Hills Elementary.

The Rotary Club has been donating dictionaries to third-grade students in the Las Cruces Public School District for 13 years as part of the club’s Literacy Project. This year, LCPS Chief Human Resource Officer Dr. Miguel Serrano joined the Rotary Club during the dictionary giveaway. Members of the Rotary Club say that, for some students, it is the first time they have ever owned a book.

LCPS Chief Human Resource Officer Dr. Miguel Serrano and Rotary Club Member Vic Villalobos talk about the importance of understanding what words mean.

“It’s really moving,” Rotary Club member Gene Gant said. “The kids at this level need this type of support for their literacy. This is one of the highlights of the club.”

LCPS Chief Human Resource Officer Dr. Miguel Serrano participates in the Rotary Club dictionary giveaway on April 2, 2019.

Ken Binkley, president of the Rotary Club, said the dictionary giveaway was a great experience to be part of, adding that he was happy to work in conjunction with Dr. Serrano and Las Cruces Public Schools for another successful year.

LCPS Chief Human Resource Officer Miguel Serrano and Rotary Club Member Vic Villalobos hand out dictionaries to third graders at University Hills Elementary on April 2, 2019.

“Getting students excited about reading and learning new words while they are still expanding their reading skills in the third grade is wonderful,” said LCPS Superintendent Greg Ewing. “We are so happy to have wonderful folks in the community like these Rotary Club members who care about our students and are actively helping to support their education.”

Retired NMSU Professor James Cotter and Ken Binkley, President of the Rio Grande Rotary Club, hand out free dictionaries to third graders at University Hills Elementary on April 2, 2019.

The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.

— Samantha Lewis, LCPS Public Relations Coordinator, 575-527-5946, slewis@lcps.net