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Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti kicks off 2020 as education ambassador

AFL star Anthony ‘Walla’ McDonald-Tipungwuti has kicked off the new year as an ambassador for Good to Great Schools Australia’s education improvement vision.

After visiting Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy schools in Coen and Hope Vale last year, assisting in classrooms and holding footy training sessions, Anthony was inspired to use his profile to help improve education for disadvantaged children around Australia.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has overcome neglect and lack of education to become one of the AFL’s most valuable and beloved players. He also works as a teacher’s aide, and as a community development officer for the Essendon Football Club.

Since his debut in 2016, Anthony has played 88 games for the Essendon Bombers. After starting his senior career across half-back, Walla has developed into one of the league’s best forwards. He made a significant impact in 2019, booting 30 goals from 22 games in a career-best performance. He also signed a new three-year contract, meaning he will stay with the Bombers until 2022.

Anthony is from the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory. He was raised by his grandmother but when he was ten years old she passed away and he was left to fend for himself. He was frequently absent from school, was barely literate and spoke little English.

As a teenager, Anthony was adopted by Jane McDonald and moved to Gippsland in Victoria. Through hard work and determination and, at long last, support for his learning disability – Anthony made it to Year 11.

Anthony is passionate about using his experience to help other children have access to the support and learning opportunities that have helped him get to where he is today.

Read more about Good to Great Schools Australia’s ambassadors here.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti trains Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy students in Hope Vale

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