Overland Park, KS — Phil Lawler honored the recipients of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grants and the woman for whom the grants are named last month during the second annual PE4life PEP Grant Resource Conference at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.

Lawler, the director of education and outreach for PE4life who also serves as the director of the PE4life Academy in Naperville, IL, spoke highly of Carol M. White, a former top aide to Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. White was in charge of writing the language of the PEP grant. The grant was re-named for White in 2002.

White is battling brain cancer and was not able to attend the conference. Lawler, who has survived cancer three times, has developed a close bond with White.

“Carol wanted to be here in the worst way,” Lawler told the attendees. Before the conference, Lawler said that White left a message for him, saying, “Tell that group today, congratulations.”

Lawler told the attendees that most physical education programs have failed to keep children healthy and that some school administrators are holding P.E. teachers accountable.

“I'm glad we failed,” Lawler said, “because failure is the first step to success. If the school administrators wouldn't have started to hold us accountable, we'd be doing the same things we've always done.”

Lawler challenged the PEP grant recipients to “change the script” of their physical education programs and to improve the quality of children's lives through physical education.

The federal government provides PEP grants to initiate, expand and improve physical education programs for K-12 students in order to help them make progress toward meeting state standards for physical education.