Riding in the back of a Jeep ornated with U.S. flags and colors and surrounded by teammates, classmates and community members, Hernandez was celebrated by all as a hometown hero.
"There's so much going through my mind, so much excitement, a little bit of nerves, and definitely just having to dial down my training and manage everything else surrounding me - my schooling and still going off to college and all that stuff," Hernandez told Community Impact Newspaper. "But I'm super excited to go out there and I can't wait to be competing."
Hernandez, a Carroll ISD class of 2021 graduate, will be attending the University of Texas at Austin in the fall and is the youngest female diver at 18 years old going to Tokyo, according to Team USA.
"Of course [gold is] the goal, but I just want to go out there and do the best that I can. And if I do that, I'll be super happy with my results," she said.
In honor of her achievement, the city proclaimed July 9 as Hailey Hernandez day in a joint proclamation with the mayor of Tome, Japan - one of Southlake's sister cities.
"This is a culmination of years and years of hard work of determination of grit of sacrifice and of discipline, all of which have put Haley and her teammates in the position to succeed at the very highest level on athletics' biggest stage," Southlake Mayor John Huffman said.