FRENCH SETTLEMENT, La. (WAFB) - With signs in hands, shirts reading “Vote for Laine Hardy,” and even a handmade guitar a young boy hoped to give to the singer himself, French Settlement High and elementary students packed their school gym Tuesday, May 14 to welcome the performer home for a visit.
"This is like something I've never seen as a principal for sure," said French Settlement High Principal Lee Hawkins.
Hawkins became Hardy’s principal when he was a junior at French Settlement high.
“He was your typical French Settlement student with ‘Yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am.’ Very laid back, very low key, and he had a great relationship with all the teachers and all the students loved him,” said Hawkins.
Hardy graduated from French Settlement High in 2018.
“It’s funny to see him now because he was a shy student. He was very shy whenever he was here. He wasn’t very outgoing. He would play the guitar a little bit in the shop for the shop guys and they would sing a little bit. The new Laine that’s developed over the last few months is a new Laine than we had, but I will say this about him: he’s still very humble,” said Hawkins.
"It feels overwhelming, like I'm so shocked. I'm still trying to process everything," said Hardy.
Hardy says he’s trying to process that he’s become an overnight national sensation after making top three on American Idol. The French Settlement native hasn’t been home in months and on Tuesday, he was welcomed back by his former principal and led into a pep rally in his honor.
Hardy walked into the gym overwhelmed and ran around shaking hands. He even came across Dante Scofield, 4, whose dream came true as he got to give Hardy his handmade guitar. Cheerleaders had special cheers written for Hardy and several presentations were made.
“You know how Hollywood has their walk of fame and their stars? Well, French Settlement, we’ve decided to start our own wall of fame, so Laine, you’re going to be the first recipient ever to receive the French Settlement Hollywood Star of Fame,” said Hawkins.
Hardy was literally speechless. That was followed by giving Hardy a key to French Settlement, as well as people impersonating Hardy with wild pants, blazers, and boots.
“I didn’t know what to expect actually. I walked in and it was like, ‘Boom, in your face.’ I loved it!” said Hardy. “I never thought I would go anywhere with it. I was just, I am still just a normal person.”
He’s a normal person who every little cowboy wants the autograph from. Plus, little Scofield’s day was made just to give Hardy the guitar he made.
"Oh, buddy, chase that dream. I know you want to play guitar. You probably drew it and made it and everything, keep going," said Hardy.
His one day back at home wrapped up quickly, with a promise he would be back home soon.
“There’s no words that can describe how thankful I am and how grateful and blessed I am,” said Hardy.
Hardy heads back to Los Angeles Wednesday to compete to win American Idol in the finale on Sunday, May 19.