MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: High School Hosts Freedom Writer | People
Manuel Scott, one of the original “Freedom Writers,” shared his story with students at Fort Dodge Senior High. The “Freedom Writers” were a group of students from California who kept journals of both their challenges and their dreams.
At the age of fourteen, Scott dropped out of school, and his English was so poor that he was classified as an English as a Second Language student (ESL). By the age of 16, he had already lived in 26 different places. At an early age, he began using drugs and alcohol. He is now a motivational speaker and Ph.D. student.
Scott opened by stating, “I am just a messenger. I have a message I believe can change someone’s life.”
Scott asked for silence and then asked students to stand if like him they would be the first in their family to graduate, if like him they had parents who abused drugs or alcohol, if like him they lost someone they loved to violence. For those who stood in response to each question he responded, “You are not alone.”
He continued by explaining that students should not judge each other by what they see on the outside, because you never know what a person is going through on the inside. He reminded the students to never forget that others are going through similar experiences and to never forget that someone loves you. Students and staff spent three minutes offering support to one another through hugs, fist bumps and tears.
Scott continued his message by telling students it takes courage, but only you can change you. He stated that a person’s circumstances do not have to define who they are or who they become. He encouraged students to turn the page and write a new chapter in their lives.
“It starts with you,” Scott told students. “Everyone in this room can do great things if you take ownership of your life.”
Following the assembly, Scott met with a group of about 40 students. He encouraged them to find the motivation and leverage they need to make positive changes in their lives. He ended his day by talking with a small group of staff, reminding them to develop connections with kids because that is what can make a difference.