Inspiration for ‘Freedom Writers’ speaks at College

first_imgErin Gruwell, author of “The Freedom Writers Diary” and founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation, spoke on encouraging diversity and understanding in a lecture titled “Teaching Tolerance” in Moreau Hall’s Little Theater on Friday. Penn High School sophomore Katie Laiman approached Saint Mary’s with the idea to invite Gruwell to speak as a part of Girls Scout Gold Award project. “I think this talk was really impactful, and I hope everyone that was here takes a lot from it,” Laiman said. Gruwell said she became a teacher because she wanted to stand up for kids who did not have a voice. “Before there was a book, before there was a movie, there was a group of students who were tired of being invisible, tired of being on the fringe and just wanted to matter, just wanted to be heard,” she said. Gruwell said when she was in graduate education classes she noticed a disconnection between theory and practice. “I realized this when I walked into my first classroom and my students could care not less about stories, and books, and Shakespeare and tales about Homer,” she said. “My students cared about would I make it home alive, am I gonna get home and see my hardworking mom with those cockroaches and those rats in that tiny one bedroom housing project, and will there be dinner, would their be food on the table, are those cupboards going to be bare again.” Gruwell said all of her students buried friends due to senseless gang violence by the age of 14, and it made her desperate to show them stories written about teenagers such as Anne Frank. “At that moment I wanted to find books written by, for and about kids,” she said. “Kids who lived in real wars, kids who didn’t pick up Molotov cocktails or spray cans or use 38 special handguns, kids who picked up a pen and tried to write along, kids who picked up a pen and tried to write their own ending.” Gruwell said she went to her English department chair to ask if she could use these books but was turned down. “She said my kids were too stupid to read a book, and they would never read a book from cover to cover,” Gruwell said. “She went on to say they were dumb; she went on to say they were nothing. I realized my kids have been called dumb, stupid and nothing so often by so many people they believed it, and they were acting accordingly.” Gruwell said in order to convince her students to pick up a book instead of using cliff notes or downloading someone else’s essay off the Internet, she had them wipe the slate clean and start over. “Without really thinking it through, I decided we were going to have a toast for change,” she said. “Maybe for the first time it doesn’t matter, maybe we can wipe the slate clean, maybe we can start over. I wanted to start over because I wanted my students to know they had a voice. I wanted them to know they were brilliant and they could go anywhere and do anything.” Gruwell said over the years she has watched these 150 kids, who were not supposed to make it, become teachers, parents and leaders. “I watched each and every one of those kids become the first in their families to graduate,” she said. “I watched each and every one of those kids become the first in their family to go to college. … I watched those kids realize their dreams.” Gruwell said she has watched kids build mountains and has seen their book inspire others. “I am an ordinary teacher who had an extraordinary experience with a group of kids who were tired of reading books written by dead white guys in tights,” she said. “They wanted kids like you to see their story, they wanted kids like you to identify with their story, but most importantly, they wanted kids like you to write your own.” The lecture was cosponsored by the Saint Mary’s Education Club, CWIL, OCSE, SIMS, Student Government Association and Girls Scouts of Northern Indiana Michiania. Contact Kiera Johnsen at [email protected]last_img read more

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Grades: Nothing spectacular, but UW finds ways to win

first_imgSenior forward Jon Leuer slashed the Wilcats for 26 points on Sunday. The performance was a welcomed sight after he struggled to score in the second half against Michigan last Wednesday.[/media-credit]Every week, Herald Sports will look back on the last two games of the 10th-ranked Wisconsin men’s basketball team and offer a report card.On the road against Michigan last Wednesday, freshman guard Josh Gasser banked in a three-point buzzer beater to hand the stunned Wolverines a 53-52 loss.Wisconsin (22-6, 12-4) followed that up by winning its final game of the season at the Kohl Center against Northwestern, 78-63. Finishing 16-0 at home, the Badgers completed their third undefeated season at home since the 1929-30 season. All three have come under head coach Bo Ryan’s 10-year stay at UW.The Badgers wrap up the regular season with road games at Indiana on Thursday and No. 1 Ohio State on Sunday.Offense – 3.5 out of 5An ugly showing in Michigan hasn’t quieted concerns of the Badgers’ performance away from the comforts of home. Wisconsin hit just .362 percent of their shots from the field at the Crisler Arena.For much of the game, UW struggled to work the ball inside. Half of the Wisconsin’s shots (29) came from the arc, and the Badgers managed to hit just eight. Even senior Jon Leuer struggled, scoring just two of his 12 points in the second half and going 0-6 from the arc.Nevertheless, Gasser hit the basket that counts, and Wisconsin rebounded with a nice shooting performance against Northwestern, converting on a .574 pace. The Badgers found a way to score from anywhere on the court, but a near 10-minute hiccup allowed the Wildcats to narrow a 16-point deficit to three in the second half.But great post play by Leuer and senior Keaton Nankivil never fazed Wisconsin’s offense and clutch three-pointers by Nankivil and junior Jordan Taylor in the game’s final three minutes helped seal the game for Wisconsin.Defense – 3.5 out of 5The Badger defense didn’t necessarily play poorly at all over its last two games. Rather, its opponents were just uncompromising. Wisconsin didn’t allow many open shots, but Michigan still found a way to shoot .488 from the field while Northwestern hit .468.The Wolverine offense, however, did control the paint in the first half against Wisconsin, scoring 16 of 31 points from that area alone. Michigan was equally tough to defend from the arc, as it converted on .538 percent of its shots.Northwestern’s three-point shooting clip of .542 kept them within striking distance during the entire game, but Wisconsin didn’t allow them to score efficiently from the perimeter in the second half, allowing four buckets on 12 attempts.Holding the Wildcats scoreless in the game’s final two and a half minutes earns the defense extra points, but the Badgers, who are themselves a team that is reliant on the three, must find a way to bottle up opponents on the perimeter.Bench – 2 out of 5Wisconsin’s reserves hardly made themselves known against Michigan. In 30 minutes of playing time between five players, none of them contributed points in a game where the starting lineup had enough issues scoring.The only stats to speak of from the bench at Ann Arbor: sophomore Mike Bruesewitz grabbed two rebounds and dished out an assist, while junior Ryan Evans recorded two more boards and a steal. The reserves collectively shot 0-6 on the night, starving the Badgers of new energy.Against Northwestern, Bruesewitz by far played the most (19 minutes) and shot 1-3, gathered three rebounds but made great passes, recording two assists. Evans was the only other play to record at least five minutes on the floor, producing one steal and one turnover.Senior Wquinton Smith, playing only three minutes, took full advantage of a wide-open three-pointer in the first half.Player of the Week – Jordan TaylorThere was no standout performance against Michigan and Leuer was terrific against Northwestern, but once again Wisconsin could not have done it without Taylor, who scored 36 points and handed out 13 assists between the two games.Nankivil shot the steadiest of all players over the last two games, hitting 11 of 20 attempts from the field and five of 11 from the arc, but Taylor’s play down the stretch in both games was essential to victory.Although Gasser hit the game-winner against Michigan, credit Taylor for not giving up the ball and finding the open freshman on the perimeter while being aggressively double-teamed after receiving the inbounds pass.And in the last five and a half minutes versus Northwestern, Taylor had an assist and scored eight points – three of which came on a tough shot at the top of the key with a defender’s hand in his face that helped tuck the game away for good.last_img read more

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