'Freedom Writer' comes to Connecticut River Academy

By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Wed., Nov. 23, 2011
(L-r) Students Adam Vargas, Shanette Tarrero and Alexis Levine, ‘Freedom Writer’ Maria Reyes, and students Jazinda Sone and Morgan Gobin.
(L-r) Students Adam Vargas, Shanette Tarrero and Alexis Levine, ‘Freedom Writer’ Maria Reyes, and students Jazinda Sone and Morgan Gobin.

The Connecticut River Academy welcomed a real-life “Freedom Writer” to Goodwin College on Friday, Nov. 18. Maria Reyes, a former Los Angeles gang member, found inspiration to change her life after reading “Diary of a Young Girl,” by Anne Frank. Reyes, in turn, began to find peace through writing and became a founding member of the famed “Freedom Writers.”

Her story is the inspiration for one of the main characters from the 2007 film of the same name. Before becoming inspired by a teacher, Reyes was among a group of students at her California school that were considered unteachable, because of behavior issues. The students begin writing a diary of their own experiences, and their lives began to turn around. The diaries became a book that later became the movie.

Reyes shared her story with Connecticut River Academy students and answered many questions about her life, her writing, and what she has experienced. Later, she posed for a picture with the November students of the month.


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