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I was interested in nothing

David’s childhood centred mostly around sport and he admits that schooling “wasn’t really a focus” when he was young.

His love of sport led him to Hunter Sports High School, where his first year was a success, playing with the Sydney Swans Academy and travelling to Sydney at weekends to play.

But his dream to play AFL football was shattered when he broke his back in a surfing accident. The specialists told him his footy career was over - before it had really begun.

David says that no one ever talked about their struggles, only the things they were good at, so he thought the ‘smart kids’ found school easy, and never had to work hard for their good grades. He admits he was never good academically, but his interest in science started to grow, fuelled by the specialist appointments he attended for his broken back.

In Year 9 he joined a program called Big Picture, a different way of schooling where the student’s interests are at the centre of their learning. David’s projects focused mainly on butchery and he interned with a local butcher for a few days each week.

His butcher boss admired David’s work ethic, but knew he was destined for bigger things, and encouraged David to pursue his interest in science. “It was the first time anyone believed in me, academically,” he said.

Using the Big Picture way of learning to explore as much about science and anatomy as possible, David got into Biomedicine at University of Newcastle. In his heart, David knew he wanted to be a doctor. “I always had the urge to help someone who was injured and to be there in times of need,” he says.

After two failed attempts, David has now transferred into medicine and says he’s finally found his place. He has at least 10 more years of study to become a surgeon, but it’s a path he never thought he’d be on.

Hear his story below:

In 2020 we celebrated 10 years of philanthropy. Thanks to the work of our partners, with our support, more than 62,000 young Australians have used education to become the best that they can be.

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