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"Long Live"​ Berks County: community celebrates Taylor Swift's Person of the Year honor

"Long Live"​ Berks County: a guide to Taylor Swift's Pennsylvania roots
"Long Live"​ Berks County: a guide to Taylor Swift's Pennsylvania roots 02:18

READING, Pa. (CBS) -- Some could say Taylor Swift and her family are "Suburban Legends" in Berks County.

It's the area where the Grammy award-winner grew up and they still have a lot of pride for the "Starlight."

On Wednesday, Swift was named Time's 2023 Person of the Year. This comes after a historic and memorable year for the popstar, who's Eras Tour has grossed more than a billion dollars. 

But Swift has humble Pennsylvania roots and a community that was rooting her on from the very beginning.

CBS News Philadelphia took a day trip to Swift's hometown to retrace her steps from the early days of her path to success. 

Berks County celebrates Taylor Swift's Person of the Year honor 01:58

At Alvernia University in Reading, Swift's got a long list of accolades and students are learning there's one less "Blank Space" after she was named Time's person of the year.

"When I first started coming to this school, I thought that it was really cool that I was in the same area that she was in, even growing up," Alvernia junior, Michaela Walker said. "Honestly congrats Taylor Swift, that's really cool. "

"I know she was part of a wedding that was on this campus at the Motherhouse. And I love that for her," Akilah Hoxcer, who's also a student at Alvernia, said. "She's kind of thriving right now."

"Long Live" Berks County, the place Swift spent her childhood, including some of it on a "Christmas Tree Farm."

Starting in the spring, Alvernia University will be offering a Taylor Swift Appreciation course.

"I know she's done a couple things for the sisters over here over the years and I hope she continues to remember us," Professor Tom Porrazzo said. 

Swift attended Alvernia Montessori School as a kid. Porrazzo's son was her classmate.

"And Taylor, if you want to take some classes, come on over. We'd love to have you," he said. 

Another piece of Swift's story starts at the ballpark. At the start of last season, the Reading Fightin' Phils put up this mural.

reading-fightin-phils-t-swift-mural.jpg

"She was just a 9-year-old girl from Berks County, who happened to be performing a youth "Grease" show on the field to help me out of a promo night and sang the anthem," Scott Hunsicker, the general manager of the Reading Fightin' Phils said. 

Swift came back to the ballpark several more times. In 2007, the front office sponsored her first solo headline concert nearby.

Nods to Swift are like Easter eggs throughout FirstEnergy Stadium, from the mural, to demos and album awards hanging on the wall.

taylor-swift-demo.jpg
An early Taylor Swift demo from when the popstar was just 12 years old. 
taylor-swift-r-phils-stadium.jpg

"The same way we think of Mike Schmidt and Ryan Howard, we honestly think of Taylor Swift as someone that kinda got their start here," Hunsicker said. 

Just like the mural reads, she is Reading's own.

"We'll always have a connection to helping people remember that she's from here," Hunsicker said. 

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