For Jersey teen Sydney McLaughlin, this summer is about trying to score her driver's license, doing some high school reading — and competing in the summer Olympics in Rio.

The soon-to-be 17-year-old from Middlesex County just throws off confidence and warmth, as I quickly saw firsthand while chatting at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains.

There, the track phenom known as "Syd the Kid" will return as a senior in September.

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt went 'back to school' to catch up with Sydney McLaughlin (Erin Vogt, Townsquare Media)
Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt went 'back to school' to catch up with NJ Olympian Sydney McLaughlin (Erin Vogt, Townsquare Media)

Since UCHS is where I graduated from (class of '98), I jumped at the chance to catch up with such an inspiring, young Jersey Girl. (There I am with track coach Mike McCabe, McLaughlin and longtime Union Catholic principal, Sister Percylee Hart).

In the video at the top of this post, Sydney fields my questions about pieces of NJ she's taking to Rio (she's a Minions fans!), music she's been listening to while training — and how her siblings have helped her handle her new Olympic fame:

I may even have to bring the family back to my old school's 'viewing party' for McLaughlin's Olympic debut, on Aug. 15.

We’re rooting for you Sydney, and the rest of our "NJ in Rio" squad!

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.

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