By Team

MIAMI BEACH (CBSMIAMI) – A beloved coach at St. Patrick’s Catholic School is retiring after 39 years on the job.

Coach Art Fernandez received a very special send-off on Monday from students as well as staff, who say he has impacted the lives of countless children and families, both as a coach and a teacher.

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“Coach was that one guy that was always have a place in my heart,” said fourth grader Nick Garziga. “He taught me how to play sports. He gave me a lot of tips. He taught me courage. He gave me courage.”

“You have created literally thousands of ripples in the world of children who are better, who feel better about themselves, not necessarily because they may be better athletes, but because they’re better people because of your example. And that is truly something worth applauding,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

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Despite being offered numerous ways to recognize his legacy, the coach asked only to establish a scholarship fund to enable students who otherwise would be unable to attend St. Pat’s.

“Nothing would give me more joy than knowing that in a small way I am giving some children the opportunity to attend SPS,” said Fernandez on the GoFundMe page, which is raising money for the Art Fernandez Endowment Fund.

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The fund will provide scholarship assistance to low-income families that wish to give their child or children a Catholic education. Team