Gymnast Laurie Hernandez met with girls from Adelante Mujeres' youth development program.

COURTESY PHOTO -       It is not often western Washington County students get to hang out with Olympians. However, Friday, March 2, was an exception.

Laurie Hernandez, who won gold and silver medals in gymnastics at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, made an appearance at Hillsboro High School, thanks to a partnership between Nike and nonprofit organization Adelante Mujeres.COURTESY PHOTO -

Hernandez visited with students from the Chicas Youth Development Program, one of Adelante Mujeres' programs, which serves over 500 Latina students in the Forest Grove, Hillsboro and Beaverton school districts. The program works to provide emotional and social support for girls, promoting leadership, academic success, healthy lifestyles, cultural identity and much more, said program manager Leticia Aguilar.

"I remember the students saying, 'Wait, Laurie Hernandez is really coming to visit us?'" Aguilar said. "They were shocked."

Of Puerto Rican descent herself, Hernandez was able to speak to the girls and answer questions about her experience being a Latina in the Olympics. She is a role model for the group, Aguilar said.

Hernandez also led a workout session for the girls to assist in promoting and teaching healthy lifestyles.COURTESY PHOTO -

Aguilar described the experience as "empowering."

"She was a very humbled person, doing the workout session with them, being very personal and sharing her own life experience the with students," Aguilar said. "It was just amazing."

Each year, Nike partners with several organizations in the community. This year, it has partnered with Adelante Mujeres and sponsored Friday's event. Nike gave each girl a T-shirt with "The Force Is Female" printed on it and supplied multiple raffle prizes of Nike gear personalized by Hernandez, Aguilar said.

"That was already pretty amazing for all of our students," Aguilar said. "It is so incredible to see what happens when women support and empower each other."

By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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