MENDON, Ill. (WGEM) -- This month WGEM is honoring a Tri-State teacher who took her love of athletics and turned it into a teaching career that's spanned more than three decades.
Every student and staff member from Mendon Unity Unit 4 School District was on hand to surprise Mrs. Sue Woodworth with a WGEM Golden Apple Award. The elementary P.E. teacher and Junior High and High School coach was shocked a school wide assembly was all for her.
Mrs. Woodworth has been teaching for nearly 35 years, all of them with the Unity school district. She's also a Unity alum and track star who took her love of physical education and turned it into a lifelong passion.
"I love athletics in itself," Woodworth said. "But I love seeing the kids' expressions when they figure out that they can do something they couldn't do before."
Mrs. Woodworth keeps her students excited about P.E. by teaching them a variety of sports and activities. From Jump Rope for Heart Health, to cup stacking and even sledding, Woodworth hopes she can instill her love of athletics in all of her students.
"Those are the things I'll miss the most because they don't normally get to do those things."
Mrs. Woodworth is retiring at the end of the year, but she's leaving a lasting impact on her students and her colleagues.
Jennifer Knox is a second grade teacher at Greenfield Elementary. "I've not only had the pleasure of having her as a P.E. teacher in high school, but now also working with her as a staff member," Knox said. "She is just so great to the kids and everyone loves her."
"She's probably one of the best coaches I've ever had," Unity Senior Alexis Wilson said. "She's really inspiring and she's pushed me to do my best and I've really improved over the last few years which is awesome and it's all because of her."
"It's just been a wonderful career and all of my years have been here at Unit 4," Mrs. Woodworth said.
Mrs. Woodworth is also a member of the Unity Hall of Fame not only as an athlete for her accomplishments, but also as a coach and athletic supporter.