Relationships Matter: Freedom Writer Manny Scott Inspires TD3 Employees at Back-To-School Kickoff Event
One moment of encouragement has the power to impact the whole trajectory of a life.
That was the message delivered to all TD3 staff and students at the annual Back-to-School Kickoff Event. Teachers and staff were present at the event, which inspired and energized everyone for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
Superintendent Christine Busch welcomed the group and shared the theme for the school year: Relationships Matter...Commit. Connect. Care! In light of the theme, Busch introduced Manny Scott, the keynote speaker at this year’s event.
Manny Scott is best-known for being one of the original Freedom Writers, a group of at-risk students whose lives were impacted and changed by English Teacher Erin Gruwell, or “Ms. G” as she is lovingly called, who found a way to connect education in a relevant way with their world. Their story was featured in the 2007 movie Freedom Writers.
Scott opened by sharing an honest look into his upbringing. Through a series of devastating life events that included the murder of his mother and best friend, skipping school by sixth-grade, and at the end of his freshman year he dropped out with a 0.6 GPA.
From the encouragement of one stranger sitting next to him on a park bench, Scott decided to give school another shot. It wasn’t long after beginning school again that Scott started earning A’s and B’s. Scott shared that it was because of the help of people just like our TD3 employees that he was able to succeed. And it wasn’t just his teachers that helped him! Scott noted the importance of all school employees such as counselors, nutrition service workers, custodians, and more.
“Your voice has power to students, regardless of your position or pay grade,” said Scott.
TD3 Roving Nutrition Services Manager Gail Smith said she was very motivated by Scott, and she felt inspired to reach out to kids she sees in the cafeteria this year.
Scott also encouraged the group to keep on trying to connect education to the lives of their students. He noted Ms. G’s ability to effectively connect with his class by teaching through their love of hip-hop music.
“Humble yourselves and be a student of your students,” said Scott. “Learn from them and connect your amazing content to your students’ context, whatever it is.”
"Even on your worst day, you can be someone's best hope," Scott added. "Renew your commitment to your work. Your kids' lives depend on it."
Connolly Middle School Choir Teacher Sean Mahoney was emotionally stirred by Scott’s call to teachers to learn new ways to better reach students.
“I love my students dearly and always try to pick criteria that they might enjoy,” said Mahoney. “But after listening to Manny Scott, I am going to challenge myself to learn and incorporate music that my students are listening to that they love and enjoy. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s well worth it!”
For more information on Manny Scott, please visit his website at www.mannyscott.com.
Thank you to everyone who made the Back-to-School Rally a success. We look forward to another great TD3 school year!