Perry Elks Lodge No. 407 presented five classrooms of Perry Elementary third-graders with copies of their very own expanded dictionary on Monday, Oct. 29.

An expanded dictionary also contains mini encyclopedia information. As well as the dictionaries, the students each received a drug awareness bookmark, a drug awareness coloring book and an American flag lapel pin.

Kayla Brown, Perry third grade teacher, was very receptive to the Elks bringing the dictionaries to her students and said she looked forward to seeing the students use the books every day in her classroom.

“Some of these kids have probably never seen an encyclopedia. Some of them might not even have their very own book,” said Brown. “We're grateful to the Elks for their generosity.”

Loyal Knight Heather Erickson spearheaded the program with help from Lecturing Knight Amber Green and Leading Knight Greg Haglund.

“The Dictionary Project is a third party nonprofit that the Elks have partnered with for many years. The project allows Elks to bring expanded dictionaries into local classrooms,” Erickson said.

She added that the Perry Lodge visited five classrooms this year, along with mascot Elroy the Elk. Elroy is the mascot for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Erickson said, and loves attending events with children.

“The children had a great time provoking Elroy to dance with excitement when they shouted “Just say NO to drugs,” she explained.

Check out video of Elroy the Elk dancing at

Erickson was happy members of the Perry Elks Lodge No. 407 were able to present dictionaries to the third-graders.

“Even with the influx of technology, you can't understate the excitement of the children when they receive their own book,” she said. “It is such a rewarding experience.”