Susie Shands said she believed in a little girl with a big voice from the start.
"We had our yearly talent show and Kendall sang a solo and she totally enamored the crowd. We couldn't believe that this young girl was singing so well. We knew at that point that she was going to go somewhere," St. Cyprians Board of Directors member Susie Shands said.
Tuesday night that somewhere happened to be the American Idol stage in front of millions of Americans.
"I've been telling her for years that she needed to be on American Idol because she's a great singer and she's a great role model," Kendall's good friend Mallory Grubb said.
However, Shands said her voice is not the only thing that made her special.
"[She] went on to the University of Texas and made wonderful grades, so she's a real success story," Shands said.
A success story with a whole community backing it.
"Kendall we are so proud of you," Shands said.
Café Del Rio offered their congratulations too, " Good luck Kendall Beard from all of us here at Café Del Rio."
The students at her old school, St. Cyprians Episcopal School, even took time to let her know they are rooting for her.
"Good Luck Kendall from St. Cyprians School," they shouted.
"I've been to every singing competition, every Forest Festival," Grubb said.
Grubb did have some advice for her friend.
"Good luck, you know you can do it, just pretend it's a Forest Festival," Grubb said.
You can watch Kendall on American Idol tonight from seven to nine on Fox. After the show you can vote for her by calling in or texting. The lines will be open from nine to eleven.