Colby Dee Coskery might rub shoulders with country stars such as Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift while she is in Nashville pursuing her musical career, but when she walked into Russell Elementary Schools gym, she felt right at home.
As she should, because Coskery attended Russell as a child and had physical education in that very gym.
Her family moved to Warner Robins when she was a baby and left during her elementary school years, but Coskery still considers Warner Robins home. Her grandmother still lives here.
Coskery spent a morning at Russell Elementary last week to help inspire another generation of students. Fourth- and fifth-graders were on hand for the good behavior celebration, and as PE teacher Cathy Sutton said to the students, they were all there -- Coskery included -- because they were making good choices in life.
She had to move like many of yall sitting here, and she knows what it is like to be the new kid and have to make new friends. But she always made good choices, said Sutton, who remembers Coskery as a good student.
Coskery, whose debut album this spring will include her first hit, Rag Top Girl, is still making those good choices, in part, because of the legions of young fans who enjoy her music, she said.
As she pursues her career, she said opportunities that come her way have to meet a certain standard.
I want to be a role model, said Coskery. This is my home, these are my roots. I want to be true to the people that support me, that care for me. I am trying to stick to my roots while I follow my dreams.
Coskerys comments were echoed by her mother, Mary Ann Branch Coskery, a Warner Robins High graduate and a former Miss Warner Robins.
From the beginning of all this, Colby Dee has felt like she has a responsibility to her fans, especially the young ones, she said.
Like the students at Russell, rewarded for their good behavior by a concert in the gym, Coskery has had some incredible experiences.
She sang before 50,000 people in Washington D.C. this summer at the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure. The song she performed, I Will Fight On, was one she wrote specifically for a friend fighting breast cancer.
Things are taking off for the singer, who, after signing about 100 autographs for Russell students, sang at an event at the Museum of Aviation before flying to California that afternoon for several appearances.
But no matter how far she goes in life or how far she travels from Warner Robins, Coskery will remember the city and the people.
This is home, she said. This is where I got my roots and my wings.
To keep up with Coskerys career, visit her website at colbydee.com.
Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.