updated 05/23/2007 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/11/2007 AT 12:00 PM ET
Not long ago, Jordin Sparks was a typical student at the Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Glendale, Ariz. Her first job was at a Buckle clothing store in the local mall, where she also spent time hanging out with friends. But when the 17-year-old returns on Friday, she’ll get a hero’s welcome and star treatment. Sparks is expected to do interviews with local radio and television stations, attend a pep rally at her old school and meet Mayor Elaine Scruggs at the Westgate City Center, where she’ll also sing before an estimated 10,000 fans. Other local celebrities, including Phoenix Coyotes hockey coach Wayne Gretzky, will be on hand to wish the singer good luck and Gretzky will present Sparks with a personalized jersey. Like a true celebrity, a film crew will be following Sparks around as she visits her old haunts and mingles with Glendale’s VIPs to record the Idol’s experience for a segment on Tuesday’s hour-long, semifinals episode of American Idol. Welcome home, Jordin!