PHOTO GALLERY — Port Arthur students get gifts for travel through past and present

Published 12:28 am Friday, December 3, 2021

Third graders at Sam Houston Elementary raced to find words after receiving brand new dictionaries from the Rotary Club of Port Arthur and the Museum of the Gulf Coast through a project sponsored by Motiva Enterprises.

It’s an annual project from the local service organization aimed to not only provide local third graders with a book, but a book that everyone should have.

“We are so excited to be here today,” said Dr. LaWanda Finney, with the Rotary Club of Port Arthur, after she was greeted loudly by the group of students. “We came to give today. We came to give you all something. And we are going to distribute books — dictionaries.”

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Brittany Delagarza, educator and tour coordinator with the Museum of the Gulf Coast, also spoke to the children about the importance of the project, as well as the special gift that it came with.

“What’s special about these dictionaries, is they will get you into the Museum of the Gulf Coast for free,” she told the students. “Your school is in Port Arthur. You’re growing up here. You’re going to attend all schools, go to the restaurants and the libraries; and maybe one day Lamar University or any other university you want to. And what’s important about the museum is there are people in our Notable People Hall of Fame that grew up and started out just like each one of you.”

DelaGarza said the group likely included children that wanted to be doctors, nurses, politicians or football players.

“Anything you want to be, you can. And that’s part of what we’re doing today,” she said. “You may not think these dictionaries are too much of a big deal, but what it does is it gives you ownership of your own education. So this dictionary is important, and will be a ticket to take you and eight members of your family to the museum for free.”

After receiving their books Wednesday, Delagarza and Rotary Members held a fun competition with students by seeing who could find a select few words first.

Houston was the second Port Arthur Elementary to be visited Wednesday. Rotary members went to Adams Elementary School prior to Houston.

Dictionaries were distributed to third graders at DeQueen Elementary School and Port Acres Elementary School on Thursday, Lakeview Elementary School and Travis Elementary school on Friday, and will be brought to Tyrrell Elementary School on Monday.