By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools
Every morning when Jasmine Glenn wakes up at 5:30 for a full day of summer school classes and one online class, she carries more than books.
The heavy-heart of losing her father has been replaced by the inspiration of her aunt.
Danita Marsh is in Glenn’s heart and is with her in both English II and algebra II as well as psychology.
Glenn’s life was altered twice before she ever turned 10.
She was six when her aunt — her mother’s sister — was shot and paralyzed in October 2006. Then a few years later in 2009, her father Roy Glenn Jr., was shot and killed by a police officer in Humboldt, Tennessee.
It was an understandably tough time.
“I didn’t speak much about it when I was younger,” she recalled, “but as I got older I had a talk with my mom. I had a talk with my aunt and it just became easier to deal with.
“I know he’s OK. I know he’s in a better place and I know my aunt is going to be OK.”
Marsh was a Metro Nashville Police Officer when she was the first to arrive on the scene of a domestic disturbance call.
Marsh and the victim, who had been kidnapped and held hostage by her boyfriend Willie Lee Lindsey, were sitting in Marsh’s patrol car when Lindsey ambushed them. He shot Marsh five times in the back, including one bullet that penetrated her Kevlar vest and partially severed her spinal cord.
Marsh is paralyzed from the waist down.
Lindsey, who had previously served only five years of 14-year sentence for second-degree murder, was sentenced to 132 years for the 2006 shooting and will serve at least 72 years before he’s eligible for parole.
In the nearly 11 years since, aunt and niece have grown especially close.
In fact, Glenn is focused on one day becoming a homicide detective with the MNPD.
Glenn turns 17-years-old next week on July 3.
The soon-to-be-senior from LaVergne High School is using a combination of summer school classes and online classes in an effort to complete her junior year of school ahead schedule so that she can work on her college degree and then serve two years in the Army in preparation for her career ambitions.
Glenn remains focused in spite of her father being shot and killed by an officer.
Roy, who was unarmed at the time of the shooting, was 29. Jasmine was 8.
“People think I’m supposed to have this hatred toward (the police) but for me, it’s different,” said Glenn, who shared her feelings from an event that took place half a lifetime ago. “I can show people there are not always bad cops in the world.”
Her compassion comes from hours of discussions with her aunt, who is now studying to become a lawyer, and her mother Vivian Marsh.
Glenn is one of 284 students from Rutherford County who have enrolled in summer school.
Students attend one of two three-hour long blocks from 8-11 a.m. or noon to 3 p.m. The first semester ran from May 30 to June 23, while the second semester started Monday and concludes July 21.
A majority of students typically attend the morning class.
However, Glenn is not in the minority when it comes to utilizing summer school as an opportunity to get ahead.
More than 61 percent of the students enrolled in four junior and senior level classes – algebra II, English II, bridge math and English IV – are taking it for the first time as opposed to retaking it after failing.
That’s a striking change in comparison to the perception of what summer school used to be.
“I’ve noticed it the past three years,” said Nivia Serrano, who has served as the summer school principal since 2012.
“The high number of kids taking (those classes) for the first time, it’s very surprising. Can you imagine taking a math class in the summer? You have to be a motived kid.”
Serrano is assistant principal from Siegel High School and has worked summer school since 2008.
Student Nawar Hasan is a summer veteran.
He took a pair of summer classes in 2016 and enrolled again this summer. He’s currently taking chemistry and algebra II.
Hasan could graduate early but is planning to stay in high school and graduate with his class.
Like Hasan, Christian Coronel is working ahead but does not want to graduate early.
Coronel is taking algebra II this summer so that he can take pre-calculus as a junior and AP calculus as a senior. He’s planning to major in computer engineering and said that AP calculus would alleviate one math course in what will already be a math-heavy major once he’s in college.
“It’ll be easier for me to manage everything else in college,” Coronel said.
Coronel said he doesn’t feel any stigma from attending summer school.
In fact, he added, “Not much really happens (during the summer) from 7 (a.m.) to 11 anyway and most of the work tends to get done in class.”
Glenn said she enjoys summer school “versus being at home and just sleeping all day.”
“What a great attitude,” Serrano said of their comments.
Glenn said she originally enrolled “just to get ahead” and never imagined the relationships she would gain.
Instead she’s met students from throughout the district.
“I get to engage with different students from all over Rutherford County,” said Glenn, who displays the maturity, calmness and compassion it takes to become a police officer. “In class, it’s multi-culture so I get to meet all different people. In English, we do group discussions and learn about different people.
“I just wanted to get ahead. I didn’t think I’d meet a lot of new friends.”
PHOTOS / JAMES EVANS
SHUFFLE: Rutherford County teacher Mark Gonyea leads class during summer school at Riverdale High School. INSIDE PHOTOS: Jasmine Glenn and Christian Coronel are just two of a growing number of students from Rutherford County who are using summer school as an opportunity to get ahead.