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FAMU professor and coach recognized for work with students

Posted at 7:04 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 19:04:41-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — With 30 years of teaching under his belt, Coach Jorge Olaves-Hernandez is now Florida A&M's 2020 Advanced Teacher of the year.

The three-time HBCU Championship swim coach has dedicated most of his career to teaching minorities how to swim.

"One of my missions is to teach the minority population to know about the benefits of swimming, not just in their health, but in their careers," said Olaves-Hernandez.

Knowing that many in those communities struggle with swimming, he has focused on taking the fear out of the water and putting confidence into his students.

"We are losing lives, we are losing opportunities to advance in this field," said Olaves-Hernandez.

Confidence that has allowed students like Casey White to pursue her dream job.

"That was my dream, to be a marine mammal trainer, and he was like 'oh my gosh, I want you to do it. We're going to do everything we can,'" said White.

Now working at Sea World in Orlando as a trainer, the former student credits her success to her former mentor, teacher, and friend.

"He took me and gave me all these resources and helped me meet other people," said White.

Coach Olaves-Hernandez won the Teacher of the Year award in 2008 and is now working to bring swimming back to FAMU and reopen the Olympic swimming pool.