CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Cleveland Board of Education has a new member.
Jasmine Martin is a rising Cleveland High School senior, and she will be the student liaison, a nonvoting member of the board for a year, beginning in August.
The board approved her appointment Monday.
Martin was one of seven students who went through a rigorous student petition campaign, a written essay and teacher interviews.
"I feel like this is a huge opportunity I have been given to use my voice," she said.
She said two agenda items before the board Monday especially caught her attention. The board approved an enhanced list of college preparatory courses and for students to take the Advanced Placement test at no cost.
Cleveland Schools Director Martin Ringstaff said the city high school is seeking out students for advanced classes who may not traditionally have considered them, including minorities and those from low-income families.
Cleveland High has 202 Advanced Placement students now, up from 170 last year.
Martin said she also is interested in a proposal to form a focus group of citizens to raise money and pay for installing artificial turf at Cleveland High's Benny Monroe Stadium.
"I am here to ask for the board's blessing and not to ask for money," Dr. Mike Massey said.
He said he and other private citizens will seek funding from school boosters, grants and the community at large for the funds to install a type of artificial turf with the feel and texture of grass but without the maintenance.
Massey said many factors could influence the cost that could range from $350,000 to $750,000.
Martin is the board's first student representative. She will have a seat at the board table in future meetings.
Board member Dawn Robinson is loaning her the information package for new member orientation, something all board members read.
"This is new for us as well," Robinson said.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...