Hannah Jarman appeared on the cover of Life magazine. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 30, 2013 2:04PM
Hannah Jarman loves politics, current events and history. She’s tuned in to the world around her.
A senior at Shepard High School in Palos Heights, Jarman is no academic slouch. She is ranked No. 1 in class and is an Illinois State Scholar. She earned Honors with Distinction, the highest academic honor a student at her school can achieve.
She credits her keen knowledge of history and current events not to her academic prowess but her involvement with Shepard’s speech team, for which she competes in the original oratory and the extemporaneous speaking events.
A winner of many speech honors, Jarman, 17, especially enjoys extemporaneous competitions.
“I have 45 minutes to prep a six-minute speech on a political topic at the competition. You have to be informed about politics and current events throughout the world,” she said. “Speech is definitely what has gotten me interested in politics. I’m super involved. I’m not a high school student who has opinions without the facts. I have the facts, too. I was really upset I couldn’t vote in the last election, but there will be plenty more.
“All the people I’ve met in speech have changed my life. Every person I meet puts me on a path to success and I’ve become more independent as a person and become who I’m meant to be. It is an awesome thing to feel that I have those leadership skills. It is independent and yet you’re still part of a team,” she said.
Jarman also is vice president of the National Honor Society and plays the trumpet in band. She was co-section leader in marching band and also performs with the pep band and wind symphony.
As if that weren’t enough, she also participates in group interpretation and contest play.
Next school year, the Crestwood teen, who is the daughter of Gregg and Nola Jarman, will be attending the University of Illinois, where she plans to major in political science and minor in journalism.
“I want to travel the world and expose the bad guys,” said Jarman, hinting at a career in investigative journalism.
She said she has three teachers at Shepard to thank for her success.
Jason Nisavic, who teaches psychology and is her speech coach, “has literally gotten me through my high school career. He has given me a new perspective on life and boosted my knowledge of politics. He made me optimistic about the future,” she said.
Justin Clark, Jarman’s former advanced placement language teacher, also gets high marks.
“He told me to push myself harder than anyone else. He told me to not be afraid to speak my mind and have that opinion because it makes me who I am,” she said.
She credits Julie Boone, her AP U.S. History teacher, with being the female role model she needed.
“She is one of the smartest women I know and she’s given me the motivation to push myself in areas like social studies,” Jarman said. “She is powerful and I love her leadership skills. She is brilliant.”
Jarman did her share to promote female role models with a recent history project in Boone’s class where she and a fellow student, Abby Walters, paid tribute to the contributions of women in World War II. The pair replicated a cover of a World War II era “Life” magazine, featuring Jarman herself.
She said she has an internal drive to do well.
“But my family pushes me further when I’m stressed,” she said.