MONTCLAIR, NJ — The Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey announced this week that 2016 Olympic Gold & Silver Medalist and “Dancing with the Stars” Champion Laurie Hernandez will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the NJ State Youth of the Year gala on June 6 at Montclair State University, Conference Center Ballroom in Montclair.
The Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey Youth of the Year gala and awards ceremony celebrate the extraordinary achievements of New Jersey’s most exceptional Club teens. The event will include the announcement of the 2017 New Jersey State and Military Youth of the Year winners. A total of $60,000 in college scholarships will be awarded.
“My goal of making it the Olympic Games motivated me to work very hard in my sport,” said Hernandez. "I am honored to serve as Master of Ceremonies of BGCNJ’s Youth of the Year gala, and celebrate New Jersey’s most inspiring club teen leaders who have also worked so hard to achieve success."
“We are thrilled Laurie is serving as the Master of Ceremonies for this premier recognition program that celebrates NJ Club teen leaders,” said state director, Susan Haspel. "We know the NJ Youth of the Year finalists will be inspired by Laurie’s tremendous passion, hard work and dedication towards achieving her dreams. In turn, Laurie will be inspired by the incredible achievements of NJ Boys & Girls Club youth in pursing their goals and dreams."
Hernandez burst onto the Senior Elite Gymnastics scene, just in time for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Her goal had always been to make an Olympic Team and her dream came true. She began gymnastics at the age of six, when she asked her mother to enroll her in the sport because she had so much energy and always wanted to experience the feeling of flying.
Hernandez is second-generation American, as her grandparents are from Puerto Rico, making her the first U.S.-born Latina to make the U.S. team since 1984. She credits her hard work, leadership skills, and “never give up” attitude to her Mom, who was in the Army Reserves while Laurie was growing up.
Since bringing home the Gold and Silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Hernandez has gone on to win the coveted Mirrorball Trophy on “Dancing with the Stars” Season 23 and published (January 2017) her first book titled, “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond,” chronicling her journey thus far.
Her other career highlights include “Dancing with the Stars” Live! Tour, Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, 2016 National Championships, 2016 Pac Rim Championships, 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy, 2015 U.S. Classic Champion, 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy and 2015 International Junior Japan Meet.
For more information on the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey’s Youth of the Year gala, visit bgcnj.org or call 973-773-0966, x151.