What is Right with this Student?

In this clip from Freedom Writers, we see a quiet student read an entry from his journal that expresses how this class has become a place of refuge. Watch this clip and ask yourself, what is right with this picture?

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Neutrino’s Analysis

Strengths of the Main Character

Make no mistake, sharing a piece of yourself takes courage. Opening up to people and expressing how much they mean to you takes faith. There is always the risk that the feeling isn’t mutual; there is always the risk of being laughed at for sharing embarrassing, personal details.

The central character in this scene is a shy, quiet teen. When he first takes center stage, one of his fellow students asks “Who’s that guy?” as if he’s never seen the boy before. In spite of the comments, the young man bravely recounts a personal story about his family losing their home and how his teacher and friends helped him understand that the important pieces in his life were still in place. Getting kicked out of an apartment is nothing in the grand scheme of things. As long as you have people who care about you, there is hope. With incredible perspective and wisdom, he concludes, “I am home.”

Strengths of Ms. Gruwell

Ms. Gruwell sees the potential in her students and pushes them to excel, open up to one another, and develop a supportive and loving community. She exhibits tremendous insight and wisdom. She demonstrates a great sense sense of fairness, persistence, and above all, leadership. Many times, all a student needs is somebody who believes in them, and somebody whom they can believe in.

3 thoughts on “What is Right with this Student?”

  1. Surely, this movie will bring hoards of viewers or have already did. It is a great clip and I know that it is not the only wonderful set of lines in that movie. By the way, to share something that personal requires a rare kind of courage that only exists within someone who have certainly experienced and learned a lot early in their life. Thanks for posting this!

  2. This clip had me on the verge of tears! It is so incredibly moving and probably the most powerful display of character strengths I have ever seen. Sharing something so personal takes tremendous courage and bravery, as said in the analysis. I was also amazed by the perspective that this young student has; adults might not be able to face the same situation with as much grace and strength.

    • I agree! Very moving. Another aspect of this I found very powerful was the support this young man received from his peers. It was so encouraging and inspiring to see his classmates support him and rally around him. I’ve seen this movie before, but I don’t remember this scene for some reason. It might be time to rent it again!


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