Since this student’s cousin has been murdered and her/his parents have left the country, s/he has been in charge of the entire household, working and baby-sitting for money, paying for the rent, and taking care of her/his little sister. Since s/he’s discovered that s/he still needs a lot of money to pay for the rent and, in addition, that s/he is failing one of her/his classes, s/he feels completely lost. S/he has always been a model student but hasn’t been able to attend classes regularly, which has only attracted teachers’ disapproval, despite her/his explanation of the situation.
Once again, it becomes apparent that some of Ms. Gruwell’s students experience academic problems not because of lack of motivation, but because of their family situation. The need to take on an adult role has kept this student from fulfilling her/his goals as a student. Her/his teachers’ lack of understanding is unfair, as they prove incapable of accepting that this student’s lower performance is the result of circumstances beyond her/his control.
While this year is supposed to be her/his best year, s/he feels that this has been the worst period of her/his life. When s/he confides in Ms. Gruwell and her fellow Freedom Writers, though, they are extremely understanding and make her/him feel better. S/he has decided not to quit school but, instead, to keep on being strong and to graduate, with the help of her Freedom Writers family.
Even though the Freedom Writers have solved none of this student’s actual problems, they have lightened her mood, allowing her to be optimistic and trust in the future. This demonstrates the huge power that love and care can have, as it can motivate individuals to fight against difficult situations and make them feel less alone.