Cody Lynn Macy's Parade

A little girl with a big voice is poised to conquer country

"I know at one point you have to have a management company take over," Macy says, "but we haven't thought that far ahead, because it hasn't got that far yet."

And should things go swimmingly for little Cody, mom and dad's plan is to do the kid star thing and hire a tutor to accompany her on the road. But they say if Cody would rather stay in school, then she'll stay in school.

Cody is nervous the night of her National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony. Unease looks strange on her.

The bleachers in the school gym are crowed with proud parents, grandparents, siblings and other students. Some are holding video cams, others handkerchiefs to dry away tears. A woman delivers hand signals for the hearing impaired. The 70 or so inductees are in chairs placed on the gym floor. Boys sit in starched white shirts. Girls with minimal makeup wear pressed floral dresses or skirts. Each is called to a makeshift podium to receive a certificate. Some of the students receive thunderous cheers depending on the size of their clan.

Debbie Macy cries when Cody's name is called, then cheers loudly when her daughter steps up to receive her certificate.

Cody is one of the brightest kids in this school, and she is the youngest seventh grader here by two years.

With her friends, all of whom are older, Cody has a kind of Pied Piper mien. She laughs and jokes and talks about boys, but there is a sense that she wields leadership. And it's a power she has without knowing.

Even after the honor society ceremony, where but a few kids and parents know of her CD releases and stage life, people are still drawn to her. A cadre of kids hangs around her.

A week later, at a junior high dance, Cody performs choreographed dances with her stylish dance troupe, Heatwave. Some girls in this assemblage are also on Cody's state championship-winning pompom team.

The Heatwave girls--seventh and eighth graders--wear blue shorts, white tee shirts and white hair ribbons. They run through a series of Busby Berkeleyesque gyrations and kicks to the tunes of Britney Spears and the Offspring.

Of the 20 girls, Cody is the most diminutive, her limbs shorter, a size difference that keeps her slightly behind the beat of the others. But her motions are rhythmic, athletic and even graceful. At one point, Cody shoots to the front of the line, arms outstretched as if she's the group's bellwether. And it all makes sense.

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