Normal West to host community watch party for Leah Marlene

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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NORMAL (WEEK) - Leah Marlene sang her way to top five on American Idol. Now, Normal west is hosting a community watch party for Marlene on Sunday.

There will be a pre-party on Normal West’s front lawn with food trucks, games, face painting and more.

The community will then gather in the school’s gym to watch American Idol.

Social studies Teacher John Bierbaum said the community can’t wait to celebrate their hometown hero.

“Two years ago, she was in our mentoring program, two years ago, she was in our choir, she was doing play productions,” Bierbaum said. “She’s just like an all around great person which makes it really really easy to root for her,” he added.

Students also started a ‘Leah Marlene fan club’ where they’ve planned recent events in school to celebrate Marlene’s success, like decorating the school yellow, putting on musicals and planning watch parties.

Normal West High School student Amanda Eggy said the club started small, but has been rapidly growing as Marlene advances.

“It’s just really exciting to see that she’s made it in the top 5 and that we get to do something this big to celebrate her huge accomplishment,” Eggy said.

Student Loralei Kuchefski said Marlene has been an inspiration for her and is thrilled to see a Normal West alum on the big stage.

“It’s just been like really special in all of those programs that she was involved in here knowing that with all of the success she’s having now, she was here just a few years ago,” Kuchefski said.

Even local businesses are joining the celebration.

The Garlic Press in Uptown Normal partnered with Normal West students to create a special popcorn mix for Marlene called ‘Leah’s Music Mix’ featuring Marlene’s favorite popcorn, kettle corn, some yellow popcorn, and added caramel popcorn.

The Garlic Press Co-Owner Sarah McManus said she plans to serve Marlene’s special popcorn mix at the watch party and said she plans to have it on the menu soon.

McManus said she’s excited for Marlene and hopes to see her win it all. She also said working with the students to make the mix has been fun.

“They gave me the sticker so I put it on this one to show off to get everyone to vote,” McManus said.

“I hope that she knows or sees some of the love that she’s getting across town,” McManus said.

The pre-party is from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. followed by the watch party from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets for the watch party are two dollars and can be purchased here.

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