Bartlett ATA honored for supporting student with Down syndrome

From left are Caroline Johnson, Master Tony Rosa, Nolan Johnson and Instructor Andrew Hoard. Courtesy photo.

Bartlett ATA Taekwondo was recently selected to receive the 2018 Lori M. Siegal Partners in Progress Award, given annually at the Down Syndrome Association’s Step UP Walk to an organization that makes a difference in the world of individuals with Down syndrome.

Nolan Johnson, who has Down syndrome, has been an avid student at this martial arts school for the past three years, being included and challenged in all regular classes to move through the belt ranks to finally reach his black belt. He is a current state and district champ and recently competed in Little Rock’s World Championship to earn three World titles in the Cognitive Division of Special Abilities.

Bartlett ATA’s approach to inclusion has been key in the advancement ability of Nolan.

“The entire philosophy of ATA Taekwondo is to allow people of all abilities to perform and compete in all ways possible,” said Caroline Johnson, Nolan’s mother, who nominated Bartlett ATA for this recognition.

Taking the time to understand Nolan’s skills and abilities, and not assuming Nolan could only complete certain tasks, Bartlett ATA gave him a chance to perform. His ATA leaders and students in the classes all have supported Nolan in ways that set him up for success.

The award was presented on Oct. 21 at the 21st Annual Step Up Walk at Christian Brothers University.