Panther Valley Elementary School and Our Lady of The Angels third graders are learning about the benefits of dictionaries, thanks to two local donors and the nationally known program The Dictionary Project.

William P. Gardiner and Francis X. Koomar recently purchased 148 books and donated them to the schools last week.

The pair has been donating the dictionaries for the last 11 years because "a dictionary is the key to good communication, education, career and personal growth and self confidence."

Gardiner explained that dictionaries are useful tools for third grade students because third grade is when they start utilizing dictionaries for their studies. With this donation, each student can now take and use their dictionary in their future grades.

"Dictionaries are useful in many ways," he said. "They are an aid to learning definitions of words, spelling, pronunciation, grammar and the use of words in a written and spoken language."

Gardiner added that this dictionary may be the first book a student owns that they can take with them through their schooling.

The students were thrilled by the present and thanked Gardiner, who was present at each school for the delivery.

He asked the students to look up the definition of sun or son. Each student happily announced they had found the definitions.

Panther Valley Elementary School interim Principal Gloria Bowman said the donation was "very much appreciated."

"The program is wonderful," she said of the Dictionary Project and that Gardiner and Koomar have been continuing the program in the Panther Valley School District for 11 years. "It's greatly appreciated with the school because these books will benefit the students vocabulary and writing."

Stephanie Robins, third grade teacher at Our Lady of The Angels Academy, echoed Bowman's thoughts.

"We're really excited about the books because the students are just learning how to use dictionaries" she said, adding that she plans to incorporate the books into the class's word of the day assignments. "This will help the students strengthen their reading skills."

Gardiner and Koomar have been delivering dictionaries to the schools as part of The Dictionary Project, an organization whose goal is to "assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary."

Over 18,255,644 dictionaries have been given through the program worldwide to date.