PALM COAST, Fla. — Sara Novak, a dean and coach at Matanzas High School in Flagler County, will never forgot the impact a coach made in her life when she was in high school. 

Now she is paying it forward and doing the heavy lifting to set her students up for success. Novak, a weightlifting coach, is described as a real motivator helping her student athletes at Matanzas High push away the obstacles to win in the game of life.

Eight years ago, Novak started the weightlifting program for girls. She currently serves at the head coach. The team was 1A District champions four years in a row and this year marks four years they have been regional champions. 

"That makes me beyond proud because it's the first time in our school history of Matanzas since 2005 that any team has done that before," Novak says.

Student Katie Welker nominated Novak as an A+ Teacher.

Welker says, "Well when I started my freshman year I had really bad grades." 

She says Novak's lessons totally changed that around. She describes the coach as more of a second mom. Welker says, "She kind of straightened me up. I have good grades now. I stay out of trouble."

Novak talks about the love and respect her students show her.

"A lot of them call me Mom number 2 and I really don't think there's more respect than having the respect of your athletes or your students calling you 'Mom,'" Novak said.

Novak is also dean Novak at Matanzas High School and in that role; she also encourages students to make good choices like being accountable and striving for excellence. 

Novak says two people inspired her. Her mother was one of them. 

"My head coach when I went to high school, which was Joseph Lores​.He was everything I wanted to have in a coach and I wanted to embody that," Novak says. 

Lores told Spectrum News 13 later that she saw on Facebook that her coach and mentor was recently inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Welker adds, "No one can coach like the way she does and keep kids out of trouble the way she does."