State Rep. Norma Hernandez visits Addison Trail to inspire students to achieve their goals

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On Sept. 13, State Rep. Norma Hernandez visited Addison Trail as part of the school’s weeklong celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The focus of the event was to instill a sense of cultural pride in students and inspire them to achieve their goals.

According to, “Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept.15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.” It began in 1968 and was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” under President Lyndon Johnson, but was later extended to a month during President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988.

To read more about how Addison Trail recognized this important month, go to Be sure to check the Sept. 22 newsletter for a recap of the events!

During her visit at Addison Trail, Rep. Hernandez was introduced by junior Alexandra Garibay and spoke with students about the following topics. She also answered questions from students and staff members.

  • Her personal journey/path and story

    • Her family emigrated from Mexico, and she grew up in Melrose Park and attended Proviso East High School.

    • Watching her family work multiple jobs just to make ends meet pushed her to further her education and pursue a career in social work and public policy. 

    • She struggled academically and overcame numerous obstacles to earn her bachelor’s degree in Social Work and her master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy, with a concentration in Community Development.

  • Her Youth Advisory Council in the Illinois 77th District (YAC-77)

    • This group is run by young people, who want to share their voice and implement change with regard to what is happening in their community – including changes in their school, neighborhood and state policies. Participants build skills in leadership, teambuilding, communication, citizenship/democracy and more. Students interested in joining the council can complete the registration form at

  • Current legislation and projects

  • How her life experiences and academic/career background drive her to advocate for her constituents