Miller then stopped at her home on Essex Street, where a crowd gathered outside as a white stretch SUV limousine with an “American Idol” logo on the door sat in front. When she emerged, to cheers and shouts, she picked up a toddler like a polished politician.
At Centerville School, which Miller attended as a first-grader, she greeted more than 300 students in two separate sessions in the school gym. The students gathered under a large black-and-orange banner that read, “Good Luck Angie, You’re Our Idol.”
Miller, laughing and showing off her gleaming-white teeth, high-fived the kids and posed for pictures. The students started chanting, “Sing, sing, sing.” At one point, the group closed in on Miller in what was essentially a big group hug.
Sixth-grader Sophia Lumino was one of the lucky ones who gave Miller a hug. She said her hair “smells like apples.”
“She’s my idol,” Sophia said. “It’s just a great experience.”
Miller’s first-grade teacher, Fran Ridge, showed a photo of Miller’s first-grade class from 2001. Miller is standing in the back row in the corner, next to a sign that says “Success.”
“I remember her as being very quiet and very shy,” Ridge said. “She was a good student. And I remember her having a sweet, little voice.
“If you told me 12 years ago that this girl would be a contestant on ‘American Idol,’ who knew? What she’s done for the children at Centerville, for the people of Beverly and Massachusetts, we certainly needed the good news.”
In an interview, Miller said the most important aspect of her success and fame thus far is that it has given her a chance to be a positive influence, especially on young girls.
“I remember being in high school and having terrible problems with my confidence and thinking I wasn’t good enough,” she said. “I want people to know that confidence is such a big thing and that you can accomplish your dreams. ... Just a year ago, I wasn’t even the lead in the musical (at Beverly High). I wasn’t even popular.”