Anthony Ianni at St. Gerard!

IMG_3911We welcomed Anthony Ianni today!  He is one of the most sought after anti-bullying motivational speakers in the region.

At the age of 4 Anthony was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). Doctors and specialists told Anthony’s parents that he would barely graduate from high school, would never graduate from college, would never have a shot at being an athlete and would likely live in a group institution with other Autistic kids for his adult life. His family was devastated but pledged they would help Anthony be successful no matter what.

And he is. Despite bullies, adversity and numerous personal challenges Anthony worked hard and never gave up. Not only did he earn his Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in Sociology, he is the first known athlete with autism to play Big 10 basketball.  Anthony played for legendary coach Tom Izzo while at MSU. He won two Big Ten Championships, a Big Ten Tournament Title, was the recipient of the 2011 Tim Bograkos Walk On Award and the 2012 Unsung Player Award, and was also a member of the 2010 Final Four team.

Anthony has pledged his life and career to help those who face similar challenges. He shared his message today with the 4th through 8th grade students.