NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Gym class isn’t just about push-ups and cardio, it’s about building the whole body. And that’s what they are doing at Ingleside Elementary.

Karol Matthews has been teaching physical education at Ingleside Elementary in Norfolk for more than 20 years. When students came back to school after learning remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, she found a new challenge.

“Coming back from the pandemic, a lot of students were not active. So, trying to get them to be active once again was a challenge,” said Matthews.

Matthews is one of 10 On Your Side’s Excellent Educators this year because she does more than gets the kids to break a sweat.

“I try to make things fun and engaging so they don’t really know they are working on their physical fitness,” said Matthews.

The students play academic games with a partner and divide numbers by jumping rope.

Being an excellent educator also means having memorable students.

“On his very first day, he was standing in the hallway crying. I didn’t know who he was and he said, ‘Nobody is going to know me,’ and I said, ‘Everybody is going to know you,'” said Matthews.

Matthews is talking about her former student Tavante Beckett.

“I have watched him grow through elementary school, middle school, high school. On the day he got his acceptance letter for college, I went up and spoke. I became his godmother and we have a great relationship and now he is in the NFL,” said Matthews.

Beckett now plays for the Detroit Lions and they still keep in touch to this day.

With the math and the jump rope, it’s a whole-body experience for students at Ingleside Elementary.