PE Teacher Receives Honor at the White House for Climate-Change Education Work

53-year-old PE Teacher Linda Gancitano has had plenty of honorable moments in her life, including being the first girl to ever play soccer on her high school’s boys’ team back in 1979 and being a member of the first women’s national soccer team in the U.S. in 1986. But she admits that nothing compares to being invited to the White House to be honored as one of the “Champions of Change for Climate Education and Literacy,” which is part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Change Action Plan.

Gancitano started the “Green Team” a few years ago, which was designed to encourage both environmental awareness and a reduction in the use of energy. Since its formation, she’s taught children about better environmental practices and educated them on climate change.   For her efforts, she was named the Florida Green School Teacher of the Year and now her work has been recognized in a two-hour ceremony at the White House.

The PE Teacher was impressed and inspired by the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, which is centered on global warming. Once she saw it, she immediately decided to take action and founded “Green Team,” which she hoped would reduce the schools carbon footprint and substantially decrease consumption levels.

The program got students involved, heightening their awareness of climate change, global warming and the irreversible effects their actions have on the planet and on the environment.   Gancitano’s efforts have reduced the school’s energy consumption by an impressive 23 percent over the last six years.

Her work is vitally important for the environment, as well as future generations, and she’s a veritable example for teachers and educators everywhere of what can be accomplished with a little creativity and passion. While Gancitano knew her program was successful, she never imagined she would someday be honored in a special ceremony at the White House, of all places.