What do you get when you cross a pirate with a wolfpack? Hannah Miano, seventh grader at Eagle Valley Middle School, is a proud Eagle Valley Middle School pirate as well as a member of the Vail Valley Eagle’s club basketball wolfpack. This hardworking, thoughtful buccaneer stays busy with a pile of athletic pursuits including playing soccer, pickup football, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding when she’s not shooting hoops. While she recognizes that all of this running and pedaling might make others tired, this schedule energizes Hannah. Off the court, music remains a passion of Hannah’s as she recently exchanged her violin for clarinet and plays in the Pirate Band. Sports may keep Hannah fit and healthy, yet her passion for literature keeps her sharp. She loves reading fiction, especially fantasy.
Born and raised in Colorado as a Summit County native, the Mianos experimented with a stint in Ashville, North Carolina before boomeranging back to Eagle three years ago. The homelessness, public drug use and trash had them dreaming of a cleaner, healthier lifestyle, and Eagle fit the bill as a cozy ski town. Hannah loves that everybody knows everybody, yet shares that the small-town atmosphere also made it hard to break into as the new kid. Getting involved with sports helped Hannah forge friendship circles.
Accomplished student athletes often settle as jocks. Not Hannah! Although sports play a major role in her life, Hannah is involved in many other endeavors. Hearing about SOS Outreach through school, Hannah eagerly signed on. She had grown up skiing with her parents, and SOS lured her in with the opportunity to learn to snowboard. Her experience with SOS Outreach spans beyond sliding down the hill, especially now that Hannah has graduated into the mentor program. “Our recent service project was awesome; we picked up trash and planted seed balls to help the recovery of a fire near Wolcott. My mentor is a trusted adult for me and my peers. I hope to become a junior mentor one day,” Hannah shares. Of the SOS Outreach core values, integrity and courage shine bright for Hannah. She explains, “I have always been a risk taker through adventure sports, so it’s fun to talk about courage and see it encouraged in other people.”
Hannah recently got involved with Mountain Youth’s Valley’s Voice program through a close friend. It was eye opening for her to learn that middle schoolers could have a paid job while leading projects they are passionate about. Hannah eagerly describes her passions of gender equality, and hopes to advocate for gender-neutral bathrooms. “I want to be sure we have spaces where people feel welcome and safe,” she reflects. Student voice is important for Hannah, and she cites Mountain Youth as an organization that makes an effort to listen. Hannah sums it up, “It feels really cool as a student to know that I am making a difference and having an impact on my community.” Cameron Dole, Mountain Youth’s Senior Manager of Youth Engagement describes Hannah as, “Really organized! Hannah takes great initiative, gets involved and is always thinking of ways to connect Valley’s Voice with other efforts. She has a solid sphere of influence.”
Hannah credits her parents as her biggest influencers. In her own words, “My parents are so supportive of me doing all the things that I love to do, and they keep me in check to make sure I don’t overcommit.” Hannah described her parents as putting the right amount of pressure on her academically- just enough to motivate but where she doesn’t feel like she has to prove herself to them or that she is disappointing them. They have reinforced that the way you do in school does not define the person you are. Hannah also gives a shout out to her little brother Lennon. Hannah describes Lennon as a bundle of joy, and is supremely grateful to always have someone to talk to and a sibling with similar interests. She shares that they have always been close and love adventuring together.
Hannah eventually hopes to play soccer or basketball competitively in college, and thinks studying marine biology could be cool. In the meantime, her advice to peers is, “Do not feel pressured by others to be anything that you know you are not. There is so much peer pressure in middle school… just ignore it. If someone says something that isn’t nice, know that it is not about you; it’s not personal. They are trying to let some past hurt out that they have bottled up and need to get out.” Hannah- thank you for sharing your energy and perspective with the world!
Written by Michelle Stecher, Executive Director of Mountain Youth