Pfeiffer University News
Tiffony Jacobs, original member of the Freedom Writers, to speak at Pfeiffer University
- Published on Friday, February 08, 2013 ( 10:45 am )
On Sun., Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m., Pfeiffer University welcomes to its Misenheimer campus (Henry Pfeiffer Chapel, 48380 US Hwy 52N), Tiffony Jacobs, an original member of the Freedom Writers, a group of at-risk students from Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif., who changed the direction of their lives through a powerful English class writing project in 1994—and named their group after the Freedom Riders who fought against segregation during the Civil Rights Movement. The event is free and open to the public; seating is limited and available on a first-come, first served basis.
Under the guidance of their teacher, students chronicled their lives and expressed feelings about living in an often violent neighborhood, an exercise that heightened awareness for their individual and collective challenges. It also led to dramatic positive outcomes, including a 100 percent graduation rate for the group. Today several members of the group hold master’s and doctoral degrees.
After the Freedom Writers’ life-changing experience, Ms. Jacobs and several other original members created the Freedom Writers Foundation (www.freedomwritersfoundation.org). This nonprofit organization is committed to providing schools and educators the tools they need to empower students to make a positive impact on the world around them and their own lives.
A book of the original students’ writings, The Freedom Writer’s Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them, was published and later produced as a feature film starring Hillary Swank as first-year teacher Erin Gruell. At the conclusion of Ms. Jacobs’ presentation, which will outline ways to overcome hardship and create positive change from within, she will sign copies of the book. Proceeds from the sale of the book, which will be available at the event, will support Freedom Writers Foundation programs, outreach efforts and scholarships for first-generation college-goers from the original Freedom Writers’ alma mater.
“The Freedom Writers and Freedom Writers Foundation share the message that when teaching and learning align with relatable experiences, the impact can be transformational,” said Dr. Tracy Espy, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “Educators, youth leaders and students will take away information designed to make them more effective in their careers and lives.”