The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye May 2024
1st Amend Award School

Jazzma Pennerman: A woman of the people

Jazzma+Pennerman+singing+for+Terrace+Got+Talent.+
©HAWKEYE image credit: Efrata Solomon
Jazzma Pennerman singing for Terrace Got Talent.

The uplifting and enthusiastic personality, Jazzma Pennerman, is the president of the Black Student Union (BSU), ASB Treasury, a member of Key Club, and a player on the varsity women’s basketball team. Her unique upbringing and positive attitude has helped bring the community together. 

“She always has a positive attitude even when you don’t know what hardships she’s going through, flexible, committed, and always willing to advocate for other students,” College and Career Specialist and Mediation Coordinator Tribecca Brazil said.

Pennerman loves to sing and has been performing and writing since she was three years old. She won third place at Terrace Got Talent.

She credited her church and aunt as being big influences in her art. 

“I want to take singing lessons because I’m going to be in choir at the college I’m going to, so that’ll be my first experience with a professional teacher,” she said. “I grew up in a church, so being around the choir at our church, listening to them just happened one day. I was just in the car singing one day. My brother is an artist and my aunt and my uncle are both musicians.”

Singing helps Pennerman express herself when she needs to.

“Singing makes me happy. I get to express my emotions through singing. It’s my outlet.”

Pennerman’s love for music continued to grow and branched out into new genres she soon found she enjoyed.

“I like really sad, depressing love songs. Not that I’ve been through any major heartbreaks in my life, but I just really like their music; Lewis Capaldi, Dean Lewis, Billie Eilish.” 

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Dancing has been Pennerman’s second favorite hobby since she was four years old. 

“My aunt is also one of the biggest inspirations in my life because she is also a singer and a dancer at my church back in the Bahamas,” she said. “She started teaching me how to dance and I would take dance lessons. Those were my only professional lessons at the time. I performed at my church. I would sing and be able to perform in front of people at the church. It helped me practice more and be more comfortable with finding my style of dance and style of music. I mainly do classical; I like that slow, elegant dance… and sometimes hip hop. Little Tik-Tok dances have been on my mind lately.”  

Pennerman’s main motive to continue music and embrace different genres is her beloved aunt, “My aunt is definitely my dance guide. She spent hours making my costumes. I remember when we would take months practicing songs, going over tracks, over and over. She would help me write my song, sing my song, record my song, and then dance to that same song. She encouraged me to be more independent about influencing my own style and my own music.”

Pennerman’s other hobbies extend beyond the arts, however. She also loves to play MTHS sports. 

“I like to play basketball. It’s my favorite sport out of the three sports I’ve played. When I’m not dancing or singing, I’m playing  basketball. I was interested in basketball in freshman year. I moved here from the Bahamas in January after basketball season so it was already too late to join. And I was super excited, I wanted to try out. I grew from 5’4 to 5’8”. It was my time to shine…and then COVID-19 happened. When I came back my junior and senior year, I played basketball because I grew from 5’8” to 6’3”.

Despite the pandemic postponing sports, it was still a valuable time for learning and regeneration. 

“I learned my strengths and weaknesses. Coming into freshman year, I thought I knew everything. I thought I was the smartest, the most athletic, and then I got humbled in my junior year,” Pennerman said. “The pandemic really helped me learn how to be an independent student and not rely on my teachers 24/7 because I couldn’t rely on them 24/7. I learned how to really manage my time more and put my effort into studying; I never studied in my life, I relied on what my teachers said and then used that on the test. So it helped me learn to study and prepare for college by putting in more effort and managing my time more.”

Not only is Pennerman involved in arts and sports, she also displays strong leadership in clubs.

 “BSU is my main club. BSU is about educating people about the black community and our experiences. It’s also a safe space for the black students–actually, it’s for everyone who needs a safe space. Hanging out, chill, play games, eat, learn about experiences other students face and world problems, current events. It’s a big, educational safe space,” she said.

“We participated in the Students of Color Conference in March. That was a big part of connecting with others, black and brown students, and other school districts,” she said. “We recently hosted a staff vs. student basketball game; getting everyone in our school community together and it was a big rivalry. Students won for the first year in 30 years.”

With great work comes great rewards! Her proudest moments and achievements include earning “Most Improved” in her basketball team last year, being promoted from JV to Varsity, to Varsity Starter, being chosen as the “Student of the Month,” being promoted from BSU Secretary to President and winning 3rd place at Terrace Got Talent. 

“I was super excited but also so confused because I did not think I was gonna win, especially being the only girl in the competition. I was definitely intimidated by some of the males, but the show was super nice. It was very rewarding!” said Pennerman.  “I always sing at school assemblies, and I sang the black national anthem, but I wanted to sing a few songs that represented me and my music style, and songs I could really express myself through; it was my time to shine. The songs were perfect in my genre.”

There is a universal value that is important in communities and relationships and something Pennerman still carries with her wherever she goes: respect. 

“Growing up there [in the Bahamas] taught me to be respectful. I noticed that a lot of the teenagers here aren’t respectful to adults. My school and my family have always taught me to be respectful, and that’s helped me here at high school to influence how the teachers and staff see me, and that led me to being the staff pick for student speaker at graduation,” Pennerman reflects. “I appreciate my upbringing, my middle school, and my elementary school life. I appreciate my teachers and principals back in the Bahamas who taught me always to be respectful and put my best effort in anything I do.”

Pennerman says that she misses the food, weather, beaches, and her family in the Bahamas, but she will never forget what her family says: “Keep your morals and your manners and your respect.” 

“That’s everything they always tell me and that has carried me throughout my whole high school career, and it’s gonna carry me through college and adult life,” she said.

Jazzma Pennerman is a bold and honest character, but for every personality, there comes some downsides. 

“I have a very strong, social personality, so I always end up clashing with other people because I’m friends with everyone, and that’s been a problem for me since freshman year,” she said. “Being friends with everyone always leads to you encountering problems whether it’s in your club or in the classroom; being too nice, being too friendly, getting taken advantage of, but it’s something I’m working on.”

To try to deal with this problem, 

“I ignore the problem and just move on with my life because you’re not gonna please everyone, so I’m not gonna spend my time and effort pleasing people who don’t agree with what I do. I just gotta let them move on and do what they want to do,” Pennerman says. “There’s always a community you can gravitate towards. No matter where you are, you’re always gonna find people who will care about you and treat you well.

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About the Contributors
Kimberly Nguyen
Kimberly Nguyen, General Manager
Kimberly joined HSM to improve her design and photography skills. Now, she is the general manager as well as a writer, an artist, and photographer. She hopes to continue capturing stories in the form of appealing visuals and captivating news as well as helping out with and attending more Journalism events. In her free time, she loves to do art, travel, hang out with her friends, read, rollerskate, research (too much), listen to music (way too much) and be weird and mysterious. She also takes a CAD Design 1 class at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Kimberly hopes to become a video game animator/VFX artist in the future.
Efrata Solomon
Efrata Solomon, Photo Editor
Photo Editor Efrata Solomon is a junior at MTHS and in her second year of journalism. She joined journalism in order to engage more with school activities and find a community of like-minded people, as well as learn about newspaper production. Outside of journalism, Efrata hopes to pursue a career in forensic biotechnology to exonerate those wrongfully convicted. She also participates in TSA, HOSA, Girls Who Code, orchestra and NHS, and her hobbies include completing puzzles, reading, hiking, going to local concerts, thrifting, and spending her money on overpriced boba.
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