LINDALE (CBS 11 NEWS) - One of the brightest stars to take the stage on Sunday at the Academy of Country Music Awards is a local talent.
Miranda Lambert grew up in Lindale, Texas, about 110 miles east of AT&T Stadium.
She graduated from Lindale High School in 2002, voted 'most talented' by the senior class.
Teachers and administrators who remember her from back then, recall the quiet, friendly teenager who turned out to be a stellar role model for today's student body.
Deputy Superintendent Jamie Holder says if Miranda Lambert walked into the school today, they'd have to shut it down for all the excitement.
"She's the biggest country superstar in the world today and for our kids to see that, it gives them the opportunity to realize, 'I can accomplish my dreams'," said Holder.
Lambert's freshman year speech and debate teacher recalls a young woman who once feared speaking in front of her class, but found the courage to overcome.
"Later she wrote me a letter and said, 'Whatever I've done since then has at least been in part of you refusing to let me quit," Janice Caldwell recalls.
When Caldwell saw Lambert in 2010, she said the country singer had a few more words to share.
"She said, 'Mrs. Caldwell, I want you to know I haven't changed.' I really think that's true," said Caldwell.
It's that quality of being a down-to-earth, home town girl that draws in "Ran Fans" from around the globe.
Many make a trip to Lindale today, just to visit Miranda Lambert's Pink Pistol store and the Red 55 winery that is her signature label.
"I just think she's really down to earth and a good role model for women. Whenever we're going through things, or having a really hard time, we just pop in a Miranda song and you feel better.
There's a song for every mood," said Holly Frejlich.
Frejlich and her sister Megan, along with their friend Jessie Jetter, visited Lindale on Wednesday.
The women are from Chicago, staying in Dallas for the Academy of Country Music Awards this weekend.
The trip would not have been complete though, without a trip to the Pink Pistol.
The store is wall-to-wall Miranda gear, from shot glasses to clothing to wines, surrounded by glittery pink displays of memorabilia.
It's the second of two Pink Pistol stores-- the other is in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, where Lambert lives with her husband, country star Blake Shelton.
"We've been waiting for this for a very long time," said Jetter.
As they sipped wine at the counter bar, Miranda's father, Rick walked up.
"Have y'all been voting for my daughter?" he asked.
Team Miranda is working hard to get the word out about Lambert's nomination for Entertainer of the Year at the ACMs.
She's been in this position before, and is the only female in this year's pool of nominees for Entertainer of the Year – the top award handed out on Sunday.
"It's a nervous time. Like any parent in any baseball game or anything else, you want them to be the winner and you want them to come out the best," said Rick Lambert.
Lambert says Miranda has earned this spot. She's already won dozens of big awards in the music industry.
Her records repeatedly hit number one on the charts.
She's up for eight nominations at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards.
"She's the hardest working female in country music. Females just have to work harder in the business. That's a fact," Rick Lambert said.
While platinum albums line the stairwell at the Pink Pistol, the accolades did not come overnight.
Lambert graduated from Lindale High School a semester early so she could begin performing on the Texas honky tonk circuit.
"Scratching and clawing her way into the boys' club of Texas music," the father says.
Her parents were by her side from the beginning.
"People say she made it quick. She did not make it quick. It's been twelve years and it's been hard work for her for twelve years. She's always worked really hard," said Rick Lambert.
Lambert's entourage, as her dad calls her close friends and family, will be in the audience Sunday night at AT&T Stadium.
He's looking forward to supporting her again this weekend.
"It will be loud and rowdy if she wins the award," said Rick.
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