The Star-News

Thousands greet teen

Sat, May 12 2012 02:23 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampite

Jessica Sanchez has finally arrived...back in Chula Vista that is.

The 16-year-old Chula Vista teen was thrown a homecoming party today at Eastlake High School, where she performed on stage for approximately 6,000 friends, family members and fans.

The free event recognized and celebrated her success in making it to the top three spots on the television show American Idol.

“Our community is thrilled to welcome home Jessica—she is already Chula Vista’s idol” Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said in a press statement. “Her amazing talent and accomplishments are deserving of this grand celebration. We are so proud of her.”

Jessica rode in a short procession with the Eastlake High School marching band and color guard, which ended with her entering the school’s stadium.

While fans patiently waited to watch her perform, performances from the high school's featured choirs and dance companies entertained the crowd.

Eleven-year-old Zavier Magpusao brought along a special message for the local idol—a sign that read, “Marry me Jessica!”

“She’s really good!” he said. “If I saw her close up I would be so shocked. I would be speechless.”

Another young fan, Isabelle Alegado said she woke up at 5:30 this morning because she was so excited to see Jessica perform.

“If I were to go to American Idol I would ask her to teach me to sing,” said the 8-year-old.

Local dignitaries in attendance included Police Chief David Bejarano, city councilman Rudy Ramirez, city attorney Glen Googins, city manager Jim Sandoval and Sweetwater district school board members Jim Cartmill, Arlie Ricasa and John McCann.

“A few years ago, the Parkview Little League won the world-series and became Chula Vista’s favorite sons,” Cartmill said. “Now with Jessica, she’s become Chula Vista’s favorite daughter.”

Edylle Ferreras, 8, said Jessica is beautiful and talented.

“I watch every episode,” she said. “She will make it to the top. She’s got the guts to do anything. If she got voted off I’d never watch American Idol again.”

Edylle’s parents said they are also devoted fans of Jessica.

“We want her to be the first American Idol from here,” Mabel and Eddie Ferreras said. “We believe she’s the best.”

When Jessica arrived on the football field by 11:15 a.m., fans frantically waved signs bearing signs of adulation to show their support.

She was presented with a resolution from the school’s principal, proclaiming today Jessica Sanchez day and her middle school choir teacher John Academia went on stage to give her a hug.

Jessica sang a total of four songs, including “Try A Little Tenderness,” by Otis Redding, “Stuttering” by Jazmine Sullivan, “I Will Always Love You,” by Whitney Houston and closed it out with “Proud Mary,” by Credence Clearwater Revival.

Host Little Tommy from KyXy, 96.5 hosted the event and asked Jessica what went through her mind when she made the top three.

“It’s just like this moment right now,” she said. “It’s crazy and unbelievable. This is the best day of my life.”

After the show some fans were ecstatic.

“It was amazing,” said 16-year-old Kaila Gascon. “Stuttering was my favorite song she performed.”

As many as 25 police officers helped with the event, from the motor and street team to managing the crowd, according to Chula Vista Police Sgt. Gary Wedge.

While Jessica was on stage, occasionally fans would shout, “I love you!”

“Chula Vista I love you too—so much, thanks for coming out,” she said.

© 2009 The Star-News