Every year, the Village of Mount Sterling’s Masonic Lodge puts in a request to the Merriam-Webster company for an order of 100 dictionaries. Then, once the school year rolls around, the Lodge donates the collection to students at Madison-Plains Elementary school — a tradition they have carried out for more than a decade.
“We’re in the second generation now of kids getting these dictionaries,” said John Huffman, Lodge Education Officer for Mt. Sterling’s Masonic Lodge No. 269. “Parents of the some of the kids can remember getting them.”
Although the tradition has been in the hands of the Lodge for the last 14 years, the torch was passed to them after originally belonging to the village Rotary Club.
“One of the men who used to belong to the Rotary Club before it folded, Jim Stiverson, brought it over with him. He was a member of both organizations,” Huffman said. “The Rotary Club must’ve handed dictionaries out for more than 20 years.”
The Rotary Club in Columbus started the tradition in central Ohio in the early 2000s, which then expanded to Madison County. When the Rotary Club in Mount Sterling went away, the Masonic Lodge wanted to fill the void.
“We wanted to be able to pick up where they left off,” Huffman said. “This is an important thing for the kids to have access to the dictionaries.”
This year, the dictionaries went to the third grade class and were presented by Past Masters at the Lodge: Shawn Cox, Travis Wolfe and Phillip Matteson.
“This is always a big deal for us every year,” said Huffman. “We always look forward to doing something for the kids.”
The Lodge members presented the collection of 97 dictionaries to the third grade class in October.
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.