The Freedom Writers Diary

  • Freshman Year ---- Fall

    The start of freshman year for Ms. Gruwell's new class.
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    The Freedom Writers Diary

  • Race Riot on Campus

    A riot between students of different races breaks out in school and causes more issues between students and some leave school in cliques in order to make a statement.
  • Proposition 187 Approved

    Students in Ms. Gruwell's classroom decided that instead of participating in a 'walkout' they would stay in class and discuss their feelings on this discriminatory issue which takes away healthcare benefits and other public programs, like school, to all illegal immigrants.
  • Freshman Year --- Spring

    The ending of Ms. Gruwell's first year as a teacher.
  • Romeo and Juliet: Gang Rivalry

    In order to make the reading easier for her student's to comprehend, Ms. Gruwell compared Romeo and Juliet's feuds to Latino and Asian gangfights. During this the student's realized how stupid the rivalries really were.
  • Learning About Diversity

    As an exercise, Ms. Gruwell gave her students different types of peanuts and had them recognize the differences between them. Some students came to realize that we kill over the color of a man, but not the color of a peanut, and how wrong it is.
  • Oklahoma City Bombing

    Ms. Gruwell made her students write a report on what happened in Oklahoma and they realized how susceptible everyone is to violence and that everyone is human.
  • Farewell to Manzanar: Japanese Internment Camps

    Ms. Gruwell and her class went on a field trip the the Museum of Tolerance for a private viewing of a movie about hypocrisy and prejudice in our society called "Higher Learning". Panelists talked about their experiences in Japanese Internment Camps and some students related those stories to their own lives.
  • Sophomore Year ---- Fall

    Students start to accept Ms. Gruwell more and she becomes well liked. She plans for her students to read The Wave by Todd Strasser, Night by Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, and Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo.
  • Lesson About Tolerance

    A student of Ms. Gruwell's is being harrassed about her bad eyesight and is very sensitive about it. She came to a point where she just broke down and yelled at the people bullying her; Ms. Gruwell talked her through it and convinced her that this incident will make her a better person like a previous student of hers had.
  • The Effect of Anne Frank

    Students that read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl relate to the discrimination shown and described and found themselves within the pages of the book.
  • Writing to Zlata

    Ms. Gruwell made an assignment for the class to write letters to Zlata inviting her to come to their school. Little did they know Ms. Gruwell wanted to somehow make it so Zlata would come and speak to her class, and when her students found out they went crazy and really put a lot of effort into their letters.
  • Sophomore Year ---- Spring

    The end of Sophomore Year and Ms. Gruwell's students become more academically conscious. They start raising money in efforts to get Zlata Filipovic to come to their school. Also, Ms. Gruwell gets Miep Gies, Otto Frank's secretary and the woman who found Anne Frank's diary, to come meet with her students. Also a woman named Gerda comes to share her experience in World War 2.
  • Gerda Seifer Comes to Visit

    Holocaust survivor, Gerda Seifer, came to visit Ms. Gruwell's class and talked about her life being trapped in the basement of a Catholic family's home. This experience helped the students pass on the message of tolerance that Anne died for and Gerda survived for.
  • A True Hero Comes to Visit

    Miep Gies is the woman who kept Anne Frank and her family alive in the attic. Many students were crying because of her very presence and her speech. Miep recognized them as heroes and made the students realize that they really are special and it is up to them to lead the younger generation.
  • Zlata Filipovic Comes to Visit

    Zlata Filipovic, her best friend Mirna, and her parents went to Long Beach to meet with the Freedom Writers and Ms. Gruwell for a week. Zlata taught the students about racism and the Bosnian War. The kids held an event called "Basketball for Bosnia", which was a tournament at the university to help donate all sorts of food and medical supplies for children living in Bosnia.
  • Junior Year ---- Fall

    All the children are back together again, including some new faces, and they try hard to top their Sophomore Year by finding new ways to bring American Literature to life.
  • Race Riot

    A race riot between African-Americans and Hispanics broke out in the school but leaked to the streets. Innocent streetwalkers were victims of hate crimes and one man even died while just waiting at a bus stop.
  • Misogyny or Mayhem?

    The Freedom Writers learn about misogyny and how it effects lives and emotional well-being. Ms. Gruwell makes the class read "The Color Purple" and many students can identify with the main character, Celie, and makes kids more involved in class.
  • Junior Year ---- Spring

    Ms. Gruwell first forms the idea of compiling diary entries into a book in the Spring of Junior Year. John Tu says he will sponsor this cause and donate 35 computers to her classroom; at the end of these student's high school career, the ones with the highest grade point average will be able to keep these computers for themselves.
  • Anne Frank's Friends Visit

    Anne Frank's best friends, Jopie and Lies, spoke to the Freedom Writers about how they knew Anne before she went into hiding and how they were inseperable. They talked about their lives during World War 2 and how Lies had to go to a concentration camp. The children listened with intent and learned a lesson that silence never helps anyone.
  • The Beginning of "The Freedom Writers"

    Ms. Gruwell teaches the class about The Freedom Riders who were against segregation and rode all the way from Washington D.C. to the deep south and were barricaded by the Ku Klux Klan. The class was so inspired by Jim Zwerg and The Freedom Riders actions that they named themselves The Freedom Writers after them because they wanted to make a statement that race doesn't matter. Now that they had a name, they decided to bind all of their diary entries and make a book!
  • The Freedom Writers Travel to D.C.

    The Freedom Writers decided that they wanted to be heard, and traveled all the way to Washington D.C. so that the Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, could read their book. While in D.C. the Freedom Writers visit many historic landmarks, including the Holocaust Museum. They held a candlelight vigil for loved ones who had died due to senseless violence at the Washington Monument and made headlines.
  • Jeremy Strohmeyer and The Freedom Writers

    Once back from D.C., news broke out about a boy in Wilson High School who had raped and murdered a little girl on a trip to Vegas. The Freedom Writers gathered with other students and held hands and sang in rememberance of the little girl who's life was lost and made their presence clear.
  • Senior Year ---- Fall

    Ms. Gruwell gets permission to teach senior english so all of The Freedom Writers can stay together. They don't know it but this will be their best year yet and Ms. Gruwell prepares them for college and teaches them about financial aid and scholarships and how ot apply. They took SAT prep courses and visited colleges, she will not let this dream die for them.
  • Meeting Cheryl Best

    One day a woman named Cheryl Best came to visit the class. She had grown up in the projects and had been kidnapped, raped, and driven to a desert where she had acid poured all over her face. Cheryl was an inspiration to these kids because despite this ordeal, she persevered. She had become blind due to this incident but that didn't stop her and she learned to read in braille. She inspired these students to go to college and that they shouldn't give up.
  • The Los Angeles Times

    Nancy Wride, a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, wrote a story about The Freedom Writers. This publicity set the students in Room 203 up for something they never thought would happen. People started sending letters to them with money to go in a fund to help them pay for college. People thanked them for the work they did in educating others and wishing them a successful future.
  • Senior Year ---- Spring

    The Freedom Writers win many awards for their courage and convictions in stopping anti-Semitism, racism, prejudice and bias-related violence. A great deal of opportunities for The Freedom Writers appear in this last semester of high school and Ms. Gruwell tries her best to give them the best ending she can.
  • Going To New York

    The Freedom Writers were chosen as the recipients of the Spirit of Anne Frank Award which was to be given at an event in New York. GUESS? clothing company sponsored 45 students and Ms. Gruwell to fly to New York to receive this prestigious award.
  • Getting Published!

    The Freedom Writers Diary was officially going to be published by Doubleday, who are the same publishers of Anne Frank's "A Diary of a Young Girl". Because of this amazing recognition, Connie Chung of ABC's Prime Time Live did a segment about them and through her advertisement The Freedom Writers got a whole new set of press coming their way.
  • Southwest Airlines

    Southwest Airlines sponsored a trip for some Freedom Writers to go to Texas to accept the Freedom Fighter Award.
  • Overcoming the Odds

    On June 11, 1998, 150 Freedom Writers who were once considered the dumbest kids in school all graduated with honors. Some being the first in their families to graduate, and some being the first to go to college, and some being the first to accomplish something in their lives. All thanks to one teacher, with a big heart.