02/26/14 — Before she made her 'American Idol' debut

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Before she made her 'American Idol' debut

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 26, 2014 4:01 PM

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Majesty York, left, while attending Wayne Community College, was an Ambassador with the Student Government Association, along with classmate Alma Islas. In this photo, taken in the fall of 2011, the students helped out at a booth at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.

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Majesty York, a 2010 graduate of Eastern Wayne High School and now part of the Top 13 on "American Idol," is shown in a yearbook photo with the superlative that predicted her future status.

Majesty Rose is the moniker she adopted when she walked into the Atlanta audition for "American Idol," and by which the nation now knows her.

But long before Majesty York became part of the show's Top 13 lineup, she was touching lives and making lasting impressions in her hometown of Goldsboro.

At Eastern Wayne High School, where she participated in the Miss Eastern Wayne pageant before graduating in 2010. At Wayne Community College, where she was an Ambassador and part of the Student Government Association. At her church, The Bridge, where she was on the worship team and a worship leader for The Riot youth group.

"It's so cool. You don't even realize how many connections, how many lives she has touched," said Jared Grantham, creative arts director at The Bridge. "She worked at Chick-fil-A. She worked at the YMCA. Just all the people who have come in contact (with her).

"I think she has something special that you can just really feel as opposed to listening to the other people on the show. They're talented, but she just has something unique. I really feel that that uniqueness shows through her faith. People are drawn to that."

Grantham recalls his own earliest encounter with Majesty.

"I was youth pastor at the time when she came (to church)," he said. "The first day she came she was interested in singing on the worship team. That was almost six or seven years ago. We put her on the team with us.

"My wife and I have been really involved with her since she's been here."

The couple are actually flying out to Hollywood March 12 to see her, he said Monday. They had just received confirmation of the dates, as contestants only have a few tickets for friends or family, he said, and he was in the process of making flight reservations.

Majesty's best friend, Carla Chapel, whose family Majesty lives with, also flew out to L.A. earlier this week, Grantham said, and plans to stay as long as her friend remains on the show.

"(Majesty) is definitely a huge servant," he said. "She's so humble. The one thing that I can say about her -- this is like a ministry for her. She realizes that this is a big thing that God has opened the door for her.

"It's so funny, when she was young and she first came to the church, she was a super shy person. I think they commented on this on the show. But when she opens her mouth, it's like, 'Whoa!' all this talent just overflows."

Matt Bartlett, who fronts the Matt Bartlett Band and is worship pastor at The Bridge, first met Majesty when he was leading the youth band.

"I have been at the church for five years and she was one of the first ones that I auditioned when I came," he said. "I will never forget her singing. It was like, wow, what a talent and what a heart. Just incredible. It blew me away."

When Bartlett's band won a contest for the opportunity to be opening act for popular Christian recording act Third Day in 2012, Majesty was among the vocalists he invited along to perform. She also sang on his CD.

"I'm so proud of her," he said. "She is just an incredible mature person and she will excel big-time on 'American Idol,' which she's already done. I feel like she's really representing our town and even our state in an excellent way. Her faith in God, that relationship is first and foremost, that will carry her far."

Candace Jones became acquainted with Majesty while the two were Ambassadors with the SGA at WCC. Now attending UNC-Chapel Hill, she said since learning that Majesty had auditioned for the show, she has followed the progress through social media.

"I knew when I met her something big was going to happen. She just has that energy and she definitely has the talent. I told several people here at Carolina that's one of my good friends. I told people that even if she doesn't win that, somebody will recognize her talent just by her character."

Reshaw Butler, who is still a student at WCC, also knew Majesty through SGA. He said she was always outgoing and friendly and it didn't surprise him that she was on the reality show.

"I knew that she wanted to be on 'American Idol.' I knew that she could sing. When I first met her and we went to Pitt Community College (for an event) she was singing in the van," he said. "It didn't surprise me that she would make it this far. I hope she wins."

"American Idol" airs again tonight, on Fox TV from 8-10 p.m. with the Top 13 singing live and voting to begin as soon as the show ends. The results show, with one contestant being sent home, will be on Thursday at 8 p.m.

As the contest unfolds, viewing parties and other celebrations are expected to take place in the community. One is being organized for next week at WCC, with details to be announced.

Meanwhile, a viewing party is being held on Thursday night at the Goldsboro Family YMCA from 7:30 until 9 p.m. in the second floor multi-purpose room. The public is invited.