Like many students of the Carroll County Career and Technology Center, Cherish Glenn is just one step away from finishing the program.
But when schools closed to in-person instruction in the spring of 2020, the Tech Center closed with them, and many students will look to this summer to get their last practical experience hours and take certification tests. For Glenn, there is only the license exam left.
Wendy Litchfield, one of her cosmetology instructors, praised the Westminster High School senior in an email. “Cherish maintained As throughout the entire cosmetology program. She has incredible drive with a desire to learn. We hope to be able to take the cosmetology exam sometime this summer.”
Cosmetology wasn’t always Glenn’s first choice. She thought about nursing, but didn’t apply early enough before the program filled. But she liked how cosmetology kept her on her feet instead of sitting in a classroom all day, and she’ll finish out the program ready to go directly into the field.
High school was difficult at the start, socially and because of things happening at home. Glenn said her mind wasn’t on school and her attendance was bad.
She transferred to the Gateway School, the county’s alternative education high school, to help catch up. Once she was there, she did more than catch up, she got ahead. She said the atmosphere and the teachers made it like a family.
“If you need something, they help you get it," Glenn said. “It’s not like, ‘You need to do this.’ It’s more, ‘If you need help, I’m here and we’re going to get it done together.’ They really helped me get on track."
Raising a grade-point average is a lot harder than lowering it. When she met all the grade and attendance requirements to be accepted into the Tech Center, it was a moment of pride.
Assistant Principal Kimani Jones was one of Glenn’s teacher’s at Gateway before she transferred to Westminster High School for her senior year and he moved into the administrative role there. He has seen her through a lot of her high school journey.
“She’s done a lot of maturing, a lot of growing up,” he said. “Not only has she survived, she’s thrived.”
For her senior year, Glenn had a 98% attendance record and finished school with straight A’s and B’s. Seeing her achieve that makes him “extremely proud,” Jones said.
Through all of school she has enjoyed English because she likes to write, recording her own experiences and creative thoughts. Her strong grades also mean she’s considering college, and is glad to have the option no matter what she decides.
Her cosmetology license will let her start out in the field right away, but she also still would like to someday become a neonatal nurse practitioner.
The dedication of the field appeals to her. “I like the thought of trying until I know that there’s no other possible thing that could help,” she said.
Jones encourages her. One thing that stands out to him about Glenn is her resilience.
“She’s a survivor. She’s going to find a way to achieve her goals. She’s very personable, she’s savvy, she’s smart. And she cares about other people,” he said.
Glenn will miss some of the people she is close to in school and getting up and seeing them every day.
“It’s also sad that everything ended this way," she said. “We didn’t even know that was the last day of school.”
She and her classmates thought the COVID-19 related closures it might last only two weeks or so. They didn’t realize it would send up with schools closed to in-person instruction for the rest of the semester.
She will be sad not to have her senior prom or a regular graduation where she gets to see everyone.
“It’s nice that they’re still doing the graduation with [four guests], and I know that Mr. Jones is going to be there, and that means a lot to me. But it’s different," Glenn said. "When all the people that you went to school with and all of their families and people that you’re close with and their families are there and seeing you do it, it’s different.”
In the future, she said she’s looking forward to “being able to start moving on and doing bigger and better things that I couldn’t do if I was if I still had to go to school every now.”
“It’s also sad that everything ended this way. We didn’t even know that was the last day of school,” she said.
And if she could give any advice to incoming freshmen?
“I would tell them to stay focused on what matters for themselves. And do the work, and do the best job you can. Because what you do now, even though you’re not thinking about your future, what you’re doing now is what’s going to matter most later on in life," she said.