‘Freedom Writers’ teacher to discuss classroom diversity at TTU appearance

Erin Gruwell
The inspiration behind the Paramount Picture's film "Freedom Writers," Erin Gruwell will be the guest speaker for Tennessee Tech University's Center Stage program Wednesday, Sept. 29.

Gruwell, a New York Times bestselling author, was portrayed by two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank in the movie "Freedom Writers."

"We thought she would a good choice for diversity and bringing people together with past and present events," said student coordinator Jessica Beck.

Gruwell is known for her "unteachable" class in Long Beach, Calif., where she gave students a second chance through The Freedom Writers Diary.

With a classroom filled with students facing future pregnancies, drugs and violence, Gruwell was distraught by the fact her students didn't know anything about the Holocaust. She inspired her class by using Anne Frank's diary to show the similarities of their lives.

By having the students write in their own weekly diaries, she brought the divided classroom in Woodrow Wilson High School's Room 203 together through their stories of hard times.

The event at TTU includes a question-and-answer session and a book signing followed by a catered reception.

The 7 p.m. speech is open to the public and will be held in Derryberry Hall Auditorium. Admission is free.