Olympic star is principal for a day Posted on March 11, 2008 by Richard Irwin Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Jill Sterkel is the special guest at this years La Puente Valley ROP “Principal for a Day” program on Wednesday. Outstanding students representing school districts serving more than 113,000 students and 72 schools will receive scholarships during the luncheon ceremony of the annual program this year on the theme “Go for the Gold!” Considered the regions most comprehensive annual community outreach program, “Principal for a Day” has continued each year for more than 21 years in the Bassett, Rowland and Hacienda-La Puente Unified School Districts, along with the La Puente Valley Regional Occupational Program. Coordinator of athletics and former head coach at the University of Texas in Austin, Sterkel was born in Hacienda Heights and graduated from Wilson High School. She will be a Principal for the Day at her alma mater before speaking at the luncheon at the Expo Center in Industry. Sterkel was a four-time U.S. Olympic freestyle swimming star, winning a gold medal in the 1976 Montreal games at age 15 and again in the 1984 Los Angeles games. She also received two bronze medals in the 1988 Seoul games. She was the first woman to make four U.S. Olympic swim teams. Sterkel began winning U.S. National Championships at the age of 10 and acquired a total of 20 championships.