I would like to let our community know that RE:START - The Center for Adult Education - celebrated its 50th anniversary May 13, 2010 at the Tivoli and rocked the house. What a night it was, with representation from our own student body, staff and board of directors, our generous sponsors and groups and groups of students from schools in our area such as Howard, Brainerd, Red Bank, Signal Mountain, East Lake, Baylor and GPS, and representing organizations such as Parks and Rec, Girls, Inc., the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, Chattanooga Room In The Inn, and the list goes on and on.
How did we accumulate such a large and diverse audience? We brought Erin Gruwell, an educator and catalyst for change to speak. The English teacher who created a safety zone in her classroom for kids who had been written off by the system in California two years post-L.A. riots and the Rodney King beating, and who employed the idea that it is better to pick up the pen and write your story than to pick up a gun and fire, was the creator of the "Freedom Writers." This group, through journaling, passed high school and went on to college, eventually getting their work published in the New York Times best-selling book, "The Freedom Writers Diary," which was made into a movie in 2007 starring Hilary Swank, which led to the creation of a foundation for which Ms. Gruwell is the President.
Ms. Gruwell inspired and riveted our audience and gave us all the collective vision to believe that through education we can all achieve greater individual success, thereby making our community stronger.
I wish to thank everyone who came, participated, listened, sponsored and who still believes that through hard work and determination in your studies, anyone and everyone deserves a first, second, third....as many chances as it takes to become a literate and productive member of society.
Cheers to RE:START's 50th.
RE:START - The Center for Adult Education
Senator William E. Brock Visionary Award
"Seeing beyond what is to what could be."
Aliza L. Cohen "Make-A-Difference" Award
"Realizing the difference an individual can make in the lives of others."
John C. Stophel "Never-Say-Never" Award
Christina S. Cotton
"Overcoming impossible odds to find unlimited possibilities."
Christina S. Cotton, recipient of John C. Stophel "Never-Say-Never" Award, with her beautiful family!
Mike and Susannah Murdock
Shawn Kurrelmeier-Lee, Lori and Eva Hairrell enjoying the reception, "Toast for Change."
Chancellor Roger G. Brown, University of Chattanooga at Tenneessee and Erin Gruwell, Educator and Catalyst for Social Change
Erin Gruwell with Re:Start student Kim White (left).
Erin Gruwell with some of RE:START's staff.
(L to R): Susannah Murdock, Erin Gruwell, Erin Hora, Lori Hairrell, Julianne Crow and Seija Ojanpera.