Author, teacher and Freedom Writer, Erin Gruwell visits McCrimmon Middle School

    TORONTO, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - On Monday, Sept. 10, more than 450 Peel middle
and high school students will gather at McCrimmon Middle School to welcome
guest speaker Erin Gruwell, the teacher and inspiration behind the major
motion picture Freedom Writers. Gruwell's character was played by Hilary Swank
in the film.
    "Having Erin as our guest is an absolute privilege. Her story inspired a
movie, a movement and hundreds of teachers and students," says Jake Johnston,
principal at McCrimmon. "Five of the seven Peel teachers she has inspired are
working here at McCrimmon. They are following her lead and encouraging
students' self-expression through literary arts and writing."
    So far, seven Peel teachers, Darwin Chan, Jamie Coburn, Kelly Dhatt, Erin
Dietrich, Xochitl Lugo, Robin Meehan and Michael Ross, have participated in
the Freedom Writers program and have been personally trained by Gruwell at the
Freedom Writers Institute in Long Beach, CA. They are the only Freedom Writer
teachers that currently are teaching in Canada. The Freedom Writers Institute
is a five-day seminar program that prepares teachers to use the Freedom Writer
method in order to improve the academic performance of students, based on a
year-long program.
    Gruwell began her teaching career at a high school in Long Beach. She was
assigned to teach the at-risk students, many of whom had already been affected
by gang violence, racial division and drugs. Through encouragement, support
and instilling confidence, Gruwell also created hope. Her students broke down
stereotypes and expressed themselves through writing, which ultimately
resulted in the collective works entitled, The Freedom Writers Diary - How a
Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around
Them. This book inspired the film Freedom Writers.
    Gruell is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, where she
received the Lauds and Laurels Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned her
Master's Degree and teaching credentials from California State University,
Long Beach, where she was honoured as Distinguished Alumna by the School of
    Gruwell will begin her presentation to students at 10:30 a.m. at
McCrimmon Middle School, located at 83 McCrimmon Drive in Brampton.

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Jake Johnston, Principal,
McCrimmon Middle School, (905) 495-3229; Reference: Fiona Provan,
Communications Assistant, (905) 890-1010, ext. 2239,

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