'The Voice' star gets royal treatment upon return

FARMINGTON – Teen singing sensation Chevel Shepherd was welcomed home in grand fashion this afternoon, as the newest winner of "The Voice" was feted with a procession along a local highway and at a rally at Farmington High School.

Local residents turned out in droves to greet the 16- year-old country star as her caravan made its way along NM Highway 516 to the high school after plane lands at Aztec Municipal Airport. Shepherd rode in a top-down convertible, allowing her to wave to her fans.

An even more enthusiastic welcome awaited here at FHS, where Shepherd is a junior. Surrounded by members of the family and local dignitaries, she strode onto the floor of the school's Scorpion Arena at 2:25 p.m.

Shepherd responded to that by hiding her hands behind her face, then rushing to embrace some of her friends and family members November, when they went to Los Angeles to participate in the remainder of the 15th season on "The Voice." [194559011] Related: Chevel Shepherd planning Farmington Concert in January

Moments later, Mich Michlin and addressed the crowd.

"I love all the support and all the love, so thank you so much," she said.

The event What organized just in the past few days after Shepherd was named the winner of "The Voice" late Tuesday.

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Scott Michlin on the floor of Scorpion Arena. (Photo: Mike Easterling / The Daily Times)

Scorpion Arena, where the entire lower bowl was filled and more than 120 people were sitting on the arena floor. Hundreds more spectators stood on the mezzanine level, and only a few hundred empty seats remained in the upper bleachers by the time the ceremony began, […]

Doors for the rally opened at 1 pm , but the first Shepherd fans started lining up at 11 am with the arrival of feather whitecrow and her group.

"I think it just happened," she said.

Seats in the lower bowl of Scorpion Arena filled up with many fans bringing signs supporting Shepherd.

Related: Farmington's Chevel Shepherd wins 'The Voice' [19659011] As Shepherd's plane lands in Aztec and her motorcade made its way to the FHS campus, Michlin got the crowd warmed up by inducing periodic cheers for Shepherd. Large video screens at either end of the basketball court also replayed clips of her performances on "The Voice" this season.

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16-year-old Farmington High School people lined up and bundled up outside the Scorpion Arena junior Chevel Shepherd back to Farmington following her win on NBC's "The Voice." [Photo: Mike Easterling / The Daily Times]

Sheriff-elect Shane Ferrari, who told the crowd, "We're sure proud of Chevrolet in San Juan County, New Mexico is part of the United States."

State Sen. Bill Sharer, R Farmington, at FHS alum, called Shepherd a great ambassador for the city and the state, adding, "I am stunned, I am awestruck by her abilities."

Farmington Municipal School District Superintendent Eugene Schmidt thus spoke, exclaiming, "What A great day for Farmington. "

FHS boys basketball coach Jay Collins followed, explaining to the crowd that his team had been asked to play a tournament in Grants moved to a 10 a.m. tipoff today so that players and coaches could be back at Scorpion Arena in time to greet Shepherd. Shepherd had knocked in the game-winning run in a kickball game during gym class.

Video: Get to know 'The Voice' winner Chevel Shepherd

Gloria Lehmer, a member of the River Reach Foundation, the Farmington-based nonprofit organization that stages the annual River Festival on Memorial Day weekend

"What do you think about Chevel performing at Riverfest?".

Once Shepherd entered the gym, the event took place on a carnival atmosphere. Farmers Mayor Nate Duckett and County Commissioner John Beckstead.

"When we think about things that bring communities together, Chevel, you are absolutely one of them." "Duckett said."

Shepherd wants to resume classes at FHS in January, but as the winner of a recording contract with the Universal Music Group, she said she's also planning to make her debut album with Kelly Clarkson, who served as her coach and one of the judges on "The Voice" this season. She is said to have performed a concert at Farmington sometime that month.

Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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