In his few months in town, Chism had made a mark as a top player on the junior varsity soccer team.
If he was troubled, it wasn’t readily apparent to those at school.
Jean McCartin, a Danvers School Committee member, said the school has extensive programs to help ease the transition for new students like Chism. She said there was no information about Chism that would have raised any red flags.
“He just presented himself to us like any other student would,” McCartin said. “And that’s what I think is so hard for the administration right now. You know, their hearts are breaking because they just didn’t know he was in need, if he was in need. ... No one knows why he would have behaved in this way and done such a terrible thing.”
A school official in Clarksville, Tenn., a city of about 140,000 about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, said Chism attended Rossview Middle School for three years and graduated eighth grade last May. He attended school in Boca Raton, Fla., in fifth grade, and Burt Elementary School in Clarksville in fourth grade, said Elsie Shelton, chief communications officer for the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System.
Chis’s father is in the military.
Mark Nolan coached Chism on a travel soccer team in Clarksville for two years.
He said Chism was very passionate about the game, which he dove into out of admiration for a relative who played soccer professionally in Brazil. “He was there more than just to kick a ball,” Nolan said. “Some of the kids were there because mom and dad made them, but not him.”
In Danvers, he distinguished himself on the JV team as a leading scorer.