Montclair Patch-

Olympic medalist and gymnastics champ Laurie Hernandez knows that it takes hard work to succeed. That’s why she made the perfect master of ceremonies for the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey annual NJ State Youth of the Year gala earlier this month at Montclair State University, the nonprofit’s staff say.

Hernandez – who is also known for her eclectic performance on “Dancing with the Stars” – told the evening’s teen awardees that their extraordinary achievements and hard work led directly to their success.

“My goal of making it the Olympic Games motivated me to work very hard in my sport,” Hernandez said. “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.”

Boys & Girls Clubs State Director Susan Haspel said that she was thrilled Hernandez could lend her name to the event, which recognizes the organization’s “most exceptional” teen members, who embody the values of “leadership, service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles.”

“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,” Haspel said.

A total of $60,000 in college scholarships were awarded to the evening’s awardees.

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