This student explains that s/he has always dreamed of going to New York. To accept the award, the students had to write an essay explaining why they would be good ambassadors for this event. When Ms. Gruwell told her/him that s/he was chosen to go to New York, s/he felt overwhelmed by excitement and surprise, since s/he only joined the class during senior year.
Ms. Gruwell does not choose the lucky students who will go to New York arbitrarily, but relies on a process of essay-writing to select them, thus demonstrating her commitment to fairness and meritocracy.
S/he is impressed by the fact that, unlike other teachers, Ms. Gruwell actually tries to get to know her students. While s/he feared that the other students would reject her/him for arriving late, s/he soon realized that her/his fears were unwarranted, as s/he soon felt part of the Freedom Writers’ color-blind family.
Ms. Gruwell does not separate her commitment to her student’s academic well-being from their sense of being loved and taken care of. She believes that education is an intellectual and social project, aimed at making everyone feel welcome and included.