• 61°

LOOKS BRIGHT: At age 6, Payton Bergeron already has a voice to remember

LAPLACE — At only 6 years old, Payton Bergeron wasn’t afraid to stand on the John L. Ory talent show stage and wow the audience with a winning rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Payton loves grasping a microphone and singing a capella versions of songs, relying on her voice without background music accompaniment.

She remembers her friends cheering her on after she won first place during the Spring show and teachers telling her she has a beautiful voice.

“I was confident,” Payton said. “When it was almost time for the talent show, my dad helped me sing the Star Spangled Banner. Now I know how to sing very well. I’m very proud of myself.”

Payton, a first grader at John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School in LaPlace, earned the privilege of participating in morning announcements, according to Principal Monica Brown.

On special occasions, Payton sings the National Anthem over the intercom.

Payton & Roderic Bergeron Sr.

“This student is vocally talented, and you can tell she is passionate about the way she sings and takes it seriously,” Brown said. “She is not shy. She has a beautiful voice and a beautiful personality. There are some kids you can just talk to, and there’s a maturity about them.”

Payton’s interest in the arts is not limited to music.

She’s enjoying her second year as a dancer at Aimee’s Dance Academy in LaPlace, where she participates in hip-hop and gymnastics classes.

Last year, Payton danced to tap, ballet and hip-hop numbers. One dance was to the song “What’s My Name,” while another included shiny, sequined costumes.

“When I dance and sing, it just makes me happy,” Payton said. “I like it because it makes my family happy.”

Payton Bergeron is enjoying an expanded music program for kindergarten through second graders that includes piano lessons.

In the future, Payton wants to work at a studio where she can teach people how to “sing, dance and just be American.”

Payton said her parents, Roderic Bergeron Sr. and Tiffany Bergeron, encouraged her to perform when they watched her dance and sing in their LaPlace home.

She especially looks up to her older brother, Roderic Bergeron Jr., an eighth grader at John L. Ory.

Though she’s not in choir yet, Payton said she is part of her school’s gifted and talented classes under the instruction of Garrett Prejean.

Music teacher Connie Sparcello said Payton and other kindergarten through second graders are part of an expanding music curriculum that includes piano lessons.

Teacher Alexis Perez said Payton is sociable and performs well academically.

“Payton is an amazing friend,” Perez said. “She is a hard worker, and she always does what she needs to do in class. She is a super smart cookie and a well-rounded student.”

As a principal’s list student, Payton said she tries her best to maintain good grades.

“You need to make sure that you come to Ory prepared and that you are achievers, leaders, individuals, visionaries and excellent,” Payton said, referencing John L. Ory’s ‘ALIVE’ motto. “When you work hard, you can do good things.”

Payton also looks forward to joining her school’s Lady Eagles soccer team.