LCHS hosts anti-bully advocate Anthony Ianni

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in NEWS

Before Anthony Ianni played in two Big Ten Championships and a Final Four with Michigan State University basketball, he spent his early years coping with autism and bullies. On Tuesday, 26-year-old Ianni will share his success story and message of autism awareness with students at L’Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Township on their first day of school. L’Anse Creuse High School Principal Stephen Czapski said the first day of school was selected for Ianni’s presentation in order to get the school year off to a good start. This is the first time Ianni — who has spoken at our schools around Macomb County — has brought his presentation to the school. “I hope it will teach our students that all individuals are unique and different. As a school, we have to come together and celebrate our differences if we truly want to create an atmosphere of mutual concern within our building,” Czapski said. Ianni’s Relentless Tour is an initiative of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “Anthony focuses on bringing attention to bullying and to helping kids find the tools and strength to fight back against bullying,” Michigan Department of Civil Rights Communications Director Vicki Levengood said. Ianni will begin his presentation at L’Anse Creuse High School at 1:10 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet with students. “He is a very positive role model that was a successful student athlete at Michigan State University,” Czapski said. Diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder on the Autism Spectrum at the age of 4, Ianni found himself the target of bullying until his freshman year in high school. Despite daunting odds presented by doctors, Ianni graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in sociology and became the first known athlete with autism to play Big Ten basketball, participating in two winning Big Ten Championships, a Big Ten Tournament Title and as member of the 2010 Final Four team. He was the recipient of the 2011 Tim Bograkos Walk On Award and won the 2012 Unsung Player Award. “My presentation is divided into two parts. The first part is called the motivational part. I talk about my story, being diagnosed with autism and overcoming challenges and obstacles I had,” Ianni said. Ianni said the second section of the presentation focuses more on anti-bullying before tying everything together during the closing. According to information from the Relentless Tour’s website, children with autism are one of the highest targeted groups to be victims of a bully, with numbers ranging from 65 percent to 90 percent. Ianni said that he personally was able to overcome bullying through basketball, earning his fellow students’ respect in high school. “A lot had to do with basketball. Obviously growing up I played different sports. Basketball was one of them. I started playing on the basketball team. I started noticing a huge difference in the respect level given me in high...

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Relentless Tour to Visit Mason on September 8

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in NEWS

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights today announced the Relentless Tour – a first-of-its-kind anti-bullying initiative − will visit Mason on Tuesday, September 8. Motivational speaker Anthony Ianni, a member of Michigan State University’s 2010 and 2012 Big Ten Champion and Tournament Championship teams and the 2010 Final Four team, will speak at Mason High School, 1001 S. Barnes St., Mason 48854 at 8 am. Ianni was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 4 and was the victim of bullying as a child. He graduated from Michigan State University and became the first known individual with autism to play Division I college basketball. Under legendary MSU coach Tom Izzo, Ianni played with the 2010 and 2012 Big Ten Champion and Tournament Championship teams, and the 2010 Final Four team. He has won a number of awards including MSU’s Tim Bograkos Walk-On Award, the 2012 MSU Unsung Player Award, and was named a 2013 Detroit Pistons Community Game Changer Finalist. Through the Relentless Tour, Ianni, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Autism Alliance of Michigan seek to raise awareness of autism and the problem of bullying. Students with autism are frequently targeted by bullies, with an estimated 65-90% of individuals with autism having been victims of bullying at some point in their lives. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley joined Ianni at the State Capitol on October 17, 2013 to kick off the Relentless Tour and announce the tour’s mission of reaching 659 schools statewide with their anti-bullying message. “Jobs and kids are the top two priorities for Gov. Snyder and his administration,” said Lt. Governor Calley. “The governor and I strongly believe that every student in Michigan schools is entitled to a safe educational environment. We supported comprehensive legislation that requires each Michigan school to have an anti-bullying policy and the Governor signed that bill into law in 2011. The law makes it clear that bullying is wrong in all its forms and won’t be tolerated in Michigan schools. No child should feel intimidated or afraid to come to school.” In addition to Lt. Governor Calley and MSU Basketball Coach Tom Izzo, the Relentless Tour has generated the support of Detroit Red Wing Niklas Kronwall and former Detroit Lion Nate Burleson, all of whom are working to spread the anti-bullying message. “Bullying is something we must put an end to, not only in Michigan but across the country,” said Ianni. “Everyone is affected by bullying in some way and students with autism are at incredibly high risk to be victimized. Our hope is that through my story and spreading our message we can not only inspire kids to take a stand against bullying but also make bullies rethink their actions.” To learn more, or to request a speaking engagement with Ianni, visit...

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