Entries made through these diaries were hard to digest when it hits you that these kids' situations were successful if they just lived through the day alive.
But one day, things took a strange turn, when Erin thought she reached her limit and was about to give up, she found a drawing done by a student and explained, irately, that was how a Holocaust happened/started. Only to a surprise that NONE of these kids knew what the Holocaust was, but they were ALL succumbed to gang violence in some aspect. It was THEN & THERE that Erin changed the core of her curriculum and teach them all tolerance of one another in/out of the classroom.
It was through books like 'Durango Street' and stories like 'The Diary Of Anne Frank' that these kids found something they could FINALLY relate to! Reading books like 'The Diary Of Anne Frank' gave these kids more than stimulation of the mind, it also gave them energetic excitement.When Erin had assigned for them to write a letter to a survivor of this story, Miep Gies, excitement doesn't begin to describe their reaction. Certain ideas flowed through the classroom, but initially having fundraisers and bake sales and what need be - to have the honor of having Miep Gies herself come and speak.
It was Junior Year, 1996, when the class had read the classic novel 'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker and MANY of the female students felt and understood the story of Celie, because many of them suffered abuse or seen it all the same. While there were some students who didn't have a choice to transfer out of Woodrow, remember there were some MADE THE CHOICE TO STAY!! and seen the difference it made.
Through the Freedom Writers as a group and as individuals, seeing what they've overcome, it was the first with a choice, a choice to graduate. For some it was the first of their families to go to college.
Meanwhile newspaper articles started flowing from the success of the Freedom Writers after Erin had submitted any entry to win 'The Anne Frank Spirit Award' and from there - things exploded!
Amid their surroundings, the work and determination these kids had was indescribable when graduation came.
|Erin Gruwell and the REAL Freedom Writers|
The End Result:
I LOVED This Book!
|The REAL Erin Gruwell|
The odds these kids had to face was something insurmountable. What Erin gave these kids was something they could live and pass on! Throughout these stories, it's PROOF that your surroundings DO NOT have to make who you are or become!!
In 2007 a movie was made featuring the many experiences shared through both Erin and the students of Room 203 titled 'Freedom Writers' starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as the remarkable teacher Erin Gruwell.