Madison Junior High celebrated its 30th anniversary Monday afternoon by recognizing the lifetime achievements of retired District 203 physical education coordinator Phil Lawler. Here Lawler hugs Executive Director of PE4life Anne Flannery after she spoke in Lawler’s honor during the event. Danielle Gardner / Staff photographer
During the ceremony, the school and Naperville School District 203 recognized Lawler as “The Idea Man” and as “An Icon of a Community Contributor.”
Anne Flannery, PE4life’s executive director, said the ever-growing interest in this approach to PE all started with Lawler.
After he received two standing ovations from the jam-packed gymnasium, Lawler, who is currently fighting his fourth round of cancer, stepped to the podium.
Directing his comments to the students who, he noted, weren’t attending Madison when he retired three years ago, Lawler stressed that the assembly was about the school, not him.
He pointed out to them that the American flag to which they pledged allegiance actually flew over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on the birthday of the school’s namesake — President James Madison. He also noted that the school opened late, and did so in part because wind blew down the wall upon which Madison’s beloved mural is painted. He noted that the artist who painted it is color blind.