Before Erin Gruwell could even begin sharing her life story Friday at Back Bay High School, students hugged her as they walked into the campus auditorium in Costa Mesa.
The UC Irvine alumna shared how she initially envisioned becoming a lawyer before she landed her first job as a teacher at Wilson High School in Long Beach in 1994. She later turned the experience into a book, which was adapted into the movie “Freedom Writers” in 2007.
She also founded the Freedom Writers Foundation in 1997 to inspire students to use writing to communicate instead of violence.
Gruwell described several Wilson High...