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Freedom Writers & Moore to Speak at LETU Thursday


Those inspired by the 2007 prize-winning film "Freedom Writers," starring Hilary Swank, will not want to miss seeing the teacher who inspired the film. Erin Gruwell, the English teacher whose "unteachable" students overcame challenges of drugs and gang violence by writing their life stories, will speak at LeTourneau University's S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performance Center Thursday, July 16.
Gruwell, along with one of her students, Maria Reyes, will share their journey at the education seminar hosted by the Region 7 Education Service Center. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will also feature an afternoon session with Christian Moore, founder of WhyTry, who will speak of his personal triumphs to overcome challenges. This event is open to the public for a $50 fee.
Gruwell's students at Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif., had been written off by the education system, and many of the teenagers were involved in gang violence, drugs, and juvenile detention. Gruwell radically changed the lives of her students by encouraging them to reroute their paths, rethink their decisions, and to become critical thinkers as they wrote journals about their lives. Her courageous support of her students led several of them to dub themselves "Freedom Writers" in honor of the civil rights activists "The Freedom Riders."
Moore is an international advocate for at-risk youth. He founded the WhyTry program in January of 1996, having struggled through college with learning differences that left him with a seventh-grade reading level and sixth-grade math skills. He wrote down a list of 15 principles that he used to overcome his challenges, and later used these principles to teach students at an alternative school. The WhyTry program is now widely used by over 4,000 schools in 48 states, Canada and Australia.
For ticket information, contact Region 7 ESC representatives Cinda Farrell at (903) 988-6822 or Susan Sullivan at (903) 988-6848. For more information on Freedom Writers, see www.freedomwritersfoundation.org. For more information on Christian Moore, see www.whytry.org .

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