Hanna Atkinson joined the Denver7 news team as a Special Olympics Colorado contributor in 2015. She prepares on-air reports, writes stories, and interviews athletes, coaches and volunteers with Special Olympics. You can watch her inspirational stories Saturday mornings on Denver7.
“I’m excited to be part of this incredible show. We are creating inspiring stories to introduce Special Olympics to viewers who don't know much about Special Olympics. We will be reporting on people with intellectual disabilities who are athletes along with coaches, families, volunteers and sponsors who are huge supporters of Special Olympics.”
Hanna is a 2014 graduate of Heritage High School in Littleton, Colo., where she competed on the school’s Special Olympics Unified basketball team for four years. Hanna has been participating in Special Olympics since she was 13 years old, and over the years she has excelled in alpine skiing, cycling, and basketball. At Heritage High School, Hanna was also a member of the school’s swim team.
Hanna’s involvement in sports has expanded beyond the competitions to leadership roles. She is a member of the prestigious Special Olympics Colorado Youth Activation Committee, and in that capacity, she has been chosen to speak at several fundraising and awareness events for Special Olympics. She recently received a grant for helping implement a fitness class for SOCO. She is also a proud recipient of the John Lynch Exceptional Star Award, and delivered the commencement speech at her high school graduation. Hanna is a self-proclaimed “health nut” who has also competed in two triathlons. Hanna is employed as a hostess at Olive Garden in Littleton and works there three days a week. Hanna also believes giving back to her community is important and volunteers for several organizations and events beyond Special Olympics Colorado, including: Nights Lights, Waterstone Church Sunday School, The Healthy Me Project, and Score a Friend Club.
Hanna has some advice for those with intellectual disabilities who aspire to work in the news industry:
“Be on time. Be prepared. Rehearse. Remember to look at who is talking and stay connected with the audience. Ask follow up questions to keep the conversation going.
Talk slowly and clearly. Pay attention because you never know when you are on camera. Have a positive attitude and show your personality! Take feedback from your co-workers. Always be yourself, your best self. Stay calm in tough situations and under pressure. Have a great time and don't give up.”