By Joey McWilliams
BRYAN COUNTY – The Durant Rotary Club has as a motto, “Service above Self.” That axiom presents itself in various ways as the club serves Bryan County.
Recently, the Rotary Club has taken on a service project to provide dictionaries for all third graders in the county.
Sierra Kovash, an agent with Coldwell Banker VanMeter Select and Vice President of the Durant Rotary Club, said the project is important because learning dictionary skills is a large part of the third-grade curriculum.
“It is a way for our club to fill a true need in our community,” Kovash said. “The kiddos then get their very own dictionary to use all year, and then take home. Our club has been doing this project for over ten years and has impacted thousands of students.”
Kovash personally delivered dictionaries to third graders at Calera Elementary School and said she was a bit nervous as this was her first year to get to do this.
“Each dictionary is inscribed with the child’s name and is presented to them personally,” Kovash said. “It also comes with a little card about Rotary with our motto and the four-way test.
“Our Motto is Service above Self so I talked a little about that by using the example of me coming to give them dictionaries – a service – to them instead of going to work -self. I also told them about all the wonderful things Rotary International does like, help people get fresh water wells, almost eradicating polio, and helping kids learn.”
Kovash also said the dictionary project itself is an exceptional one, and that she knew she wanted to use the opportunity with the kids to talk about another pillar of the spirit of Rotary, something the kids will need to hear in their hard lives ahead.
“I told the kids that I wanted them to practice their new dictionary skills by looking up one of my favorite words: courage,” Kovash said. “We read it together. Courage – the ability to do something even when faced with danger or fear.
“I acknowledged that many of them had to tap into their courage already in their young lives. Others have yet to face such obstacles, but when they do they will need courage to make the right decisions.
“The courage to stand up for what is right. The courage to help others when no one else will. The courage to travel and learn about people not like you. The courage to go to school when your parents, and teachers don’t tell you to anymore, like college or a trade school. The courage to feed the family down the street, and be friends with the person no one else is friends with. The courage to do the right thing when no one else is looking, and have the courage to persevere.”
Perseverance worked well for the Calera students who had recently learned it as a vocabulary word.
Kovash said she enjoyed the trip to Calera and that all three classes she visited were wonderful. She told the students she has faith in them to do good things, and to believe in themselves, each other and the world.
The Rotary Club is continuing to visit Bryan County third grade classes and will complete the circuit soon.