Freedom Writer Diary by Erin Gruwell

April 5, 2012
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When you think of Long Beach the things that come into mind are beautiful beaches expensive boutiques and magnificent mansions.............right? However the freedom writers had a different perspective. They saw it as a hostile environment filled with corruption, hate and discrimination. The freedom writers diary chronicles the four years of how a teacher changed the lives of 150 students that were considered “at risk” or “most likely to drop out”. She made it her responsibility by teaching her students that violence is never the answer. It sounds nearly impossible when dealing with racial tensions.
Erin Gruell received a job at Wilson High School in Long Beach Californina. She taught an english class and the students seemed less than interested because they had much more to worry about than school. One of the first assignments she handed out was for everyone to keep a journal. Through the entries she learned about the horror the students faced each and everyday. Mrs.Gruell made it her responsibility to keep the kids safe, secure, and to keep them as if they were her own children.
The entries from this dedicated teacher and troubled teens are compelling and hard to put down. I could identify certain students as I made my way through the book because their stories stood out and started to connect. Some of the stories are heartbreaking, eye-opening, and some will stay with you forever. In a span of four years Erin Gruell turned 150 failures, drug addicts and gang members into high school educated graduates. These high schoolers have sparked interest in me because of what they experienced and the sacrifices they made. Along common themes of empowerment, education, friendship, and standing united as a family.
The freedom writers diary contains many strong messages that stood out to me. Overcomming differences spoke strongly to me in the text. Each student had to really take in depth look at themselves and how they connect with each other. I believe this is one of the most powerful themes in the text. I am pleased to say that the freedom writes have had a huge impact on my life.

Mrs. Erin Gruell did many remarkable things with the freedom writers. It seemed impossible to graduate from high school because many students were in an undeclared war in between two gang neighborhoods and witnessed murders on the streets. With their teachers encouragement the freedom writers accomplished things beyond their dreams and expectations. I was inspired by Mrs.Gruell because I thought I wanted to be a teacher but regardless of where I end up in life, I want to do something that involves the empowerment of teens. I read and learned about how these incredible individuals put their differences aside, I explored their journeys towards changing the world through their diary entries and how they created a strong bond and became a second family.

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