Canoga Park : Elks Lodge Donates Dictionaries to School

Standing in front of nearly 1,000 Canoga Park students assembled in his honor Tuesday, Bob French admitted he felt a bit like Santa Claus.

It wasn’t hard to see why. The burly member of Canoga Park’s Elks Lodge came to Limerick Avenue Elementary School to donate a set of brand-new dictionaries to the school and said he’s letting his beard grow to portray St. Nick next month.

For French, the group’s youth activities chairman, it’s a donation that’s especially vital in a school district frequently strapped for cash. Since May, the Elks raised $3,700 for 280 dictionaries, distributing them to 13 Los Angeles Unified School District campuses in the northwest Valley.

“It now becomes a tool,” French said, indicating a stack of the reference books during an outdoor rally at the school. “They have a way of going to this at their leisure and educating themselves.”


Ronni Ephraim, Limerick’s principal, said the books will be a significant asset at a school where 30 different languages are spoken.

“Dictionaries like this really help us,” she said. “They have pictures on the pages. [They] help children take a mental picture of what they’re learning.”

The school expressed its appreciation to the Elks and to French by presenting him with several certificates of merit and donating a book to Limerick’s library in his honor.

Eight-year-old Rachel Wilkinson, who thanked the group in a brief speech, said that dictionaries are an important part of a child’s education.

“When you get older, if you can’t spell or if you can’t read, then you don’t get a good job,” she said.