Third-graders in Tori Corak’s class at Enterprise Elementary School show the dictionaries they received courtesy of the Hurricane Creek Grange. Handing out dictionaries to third-graders in Wallowa County schools is an annual activity of the grange.

JOSEPH — Third-graders all over Wallowa County were the recipients of a unique gift late last month, as the Hurricane Creek Grange handed out student dictionaries as part of its education program.

Elementary school students at Enterprise, Wallowa and Joseph received the dictionaries, said Barbara McCormack, public information officer for the grange. She said an effort was also being made to supply students at the Seventh-day Adventist school in Enterprise, but she wasn’t sure if that school is in session, given the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

“It’s all part of our education deal,” McCormack said. “We give scholarships and we give dictionaries through the education committee.”

The 57 dictionaries cost about $160, funded entirely by the Joseph-area grange.

The handout is an annual activity of the grange. According to a press release from McCormack, grange members usually like to distribute them in person.

“This year, due to COVID, we had to make some adjustments to the presentations,” the release stated. “We contacted the schools for a list of student names so we could personalize each book and instead of presenting them to each student, we took them to the schools’ offices so the teachers could hand them out. We missed the personal contact but the safety of the children was our top priority. Hopefully next year we will resume normality.“

McCormack said the students were quite appreciative of the dictionaries.

“They get really excited about it,” she said, adding that many even sent thank you notes that are now posted at the grange.

One such note read:

“Thank you for the class dictionaries. We will start using them next week. They will be perfect to help us on spelling, vocabulary and reading lessons.

“Every year the 3rd grade crew looks forward to getting out dictionaries. THANK YOU for remembering us.

“Smiles to you all,

“Enterprise third-grade students

“Tori Corak’s class.”

In spite of the COVID-related shutdowns, most schools in the county are still holding classes. The grange has no intention of letting the pandemic put a kink in its generosity, McCormack said.

“We plan to continue the program, COVID or not,” she said. “The kids still got to get them and that was the important part. We like to keep the kids excited about learning, especially in COVID times.”

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