Daily Point of Light # 2253 Sep 23, 2002

Ilene Gorzitze (Mrs. “G”) is a retired physical education teacher; however, she is still involved in molding the lives of youth at Upland Terrace Elementary School. Her grandchildren attend the school, but instead of working only in their classes, she works with nine teachers in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. Though she cannot work with all the classes in the school, Gorzitze indirectly impacts all of them with her instruction.

Gorzitze has taken responsibility for supplying and maintaining the school’s physical education equipment She shops at thrift stores and buys quality used physical education equipment. Without her interest in the supplies, the school may still be dealing with a minimal amount of sub-standard equipment. Teachers applaud her idea and effort and wish they had the time to do the innovative things she does.

In addition, Gorzitze has worked to build the physical education curriculum. Instead of working with what was presented to her, Gorzitze decided to be innovative. She decided to use the school’s limited supply of bowling equipment (Gymbowl). Through the years she has helped the school acquire enough bowling pins and balls to teach 60 children at a time how to bowl. They learn proper technique as well as how to score bowling. After the bowling unit is completed, the classes, around 200 students, are able to go to a bowling alley for a real game.

Gorzitze believes the children need constant encouragement. She searched to find discarded and economical trophies and had them engraved to present to the highest scoring boy and girl in each grade after their tournament at the bowling alley. Without her assistance, this would not have happened.

Gorzitze worked with the school on a Fundraiser for the American Heart Association (Jump Rope for Heart). She has made folders for teachers with instruction techniques, general information for organizing games, jump rope skills, Fitness and testing, so the teachers could be informed and prepared.

For the last few years, Upland Terrace has also set aside a special day for “Focus On Fitness”. Gorzitze has served many hours to assist the teachers, PTA and others in creating, organizing and actually implementing the events of the day. She also gave of her time to teach one of the sessions. Upland Terrace Elementary does not have the budget for a physical education specialist. Gorzitze makes herself available to the school so the children do not miss out on another paid staff person. Though she is a volunteer, Gorzitze works as if she is earning a paycheck. She is an invaluable resource for the children and teachers at Upland Terrace.