Last week, two eighth grade students at Glen Rose Junior High School attended the Effective Schools Project (ESP) Conference at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

Erin Gruwell, serving as the keynote speaker in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center auditorium, is an idealistic first-year English teacher at Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif. On the first day of her initial teaching assignment, Gruwell confronted a room full of at-rish students. They later wrote diary entries which were published in their book, “The Freedom Writers’ Diary.”

Gruwell and her students were featured on ABC Primetime, which led to the feature movie, “The Freedom Writers,” starring Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey.

Local students attending were Ariana Barrios and Ben Muniga, who were accompanied to the conference by GRJHS teachers Patty Snodgrass and Diana Wright, and Glen Rose Intermediate teacher Betty Grace. After hearing Gruwell’s presentation, the local students received autographed copies of the book.