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Knapp Charter Students Overjoyed After Receiving Special Dictionaries from American Legion

The digital age has made many things obsolete, but American Legion member Cliff Mulder does not think a dictionary should be included on that list.

Mulder and fellow Furniture City Post 258 members Doug Heugel, Bob Crans, and Bob and Theresa Schneckenberger visited with third grade students at Knapp Charter Academy last week to present them with special student dictionaries. Knapp has the proud distinction of outperforming its local school district for the past 13 years.

Scholars were called to the front of their classroom one by one to receive their book and a couple bookmarks as well. The group from Post 258 has been donating the dictionaries since 2015 and visits 10 schools each year. This year they handed books to 550 third graders.  

American legion member speaking to students
American Legion Post 258 member Bob Crans talks to Knapp Charter Academy third grade students about their new dictionaries.

“Many ask ‘why a book?’” Mulder said. “Because it’s all there in front of them, they don’t have to think about Googling it, or looking it up. If they have a physical book sitting in front of them, they’re more likely to explore it and see what’s inside.”
That’s exactly what these scholars did upon receiving their dictionaries. Many flipped through the pages, looking for their favorite words. Others found the extras in the back of the book, including the U.S. Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, biographies of all U.S. Presidents, facts about countries, and much more.
 Knapp student reading dictionary
A Knapp Charter Academy third grade student looks through his new dictionary.

“We enjoy doing what we do, it’s a lot of fun,” Mulder said. “We get blessed by it. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had kids tell us how much they enjoy it. We were in a school recently walking down the hall and about a half dozen older kids yelled to us, ‘Hey! We know why you’re here!" A couple girls came back to show us their dictionaries and you can tell the books were well-used, they had been used many, many times. It’s the kind of stuff that makes your heart melt. It means so much.”

Post 258 budgets money for the dictionary giveaway every year and does fundraisers for the bookmarks it hands out.
“It’s something we look forward to doing every year,” Mulder said.

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About Knapp Charter Academy
Knapp Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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