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Study Connection Kicks Off 25th Year

Record Number: 10177     Displayed from: Sep 3 2013 12:00AM, until: Sep 30 2013 12:00AM

Study Connection will celebrate its 25th year of helping students with the Annual Celebration and Recognition Breakfast Thursday, Sept. 5. The event honors volunteers and students for their accomplishments and will feature keynote speaker Erin Gruwell, the English teacher who worked with a group of students known as the Freedom Writers, a group of students on which the 2007 movie “Freedom Writers” was based. The group of students was considered “unteachable” until Gruwell found a way to reach the students through books, such as “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Study Connection will honor those who have made a different in the program. The 2013 Tutor of the Year is Doni Adam, who has been a volunteer since 2009 at Calvary United Methodist Church. Study Connection is honoring three students as 2013 Student of the Year for their hard work and continued improvement: Nick Eastman, Savannah Corrao and Elijah Mullis.

Gruwell will speak on her educational philosophy of valuing and promoting diversity. She encouraged her own students to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others in order to reconsider daily decisions and ultimately shape their futures. With her support, students avoided drugs, violence and teen pregnancy and instead became college students, published writers and catalysts of change. The Freedom Writers stories are published in “The Freedom Writers Diary.” Gruwell’s memoir, “Teach with Your Heart,” was published in 2007. Gruwell’s visit to Fort Wayne follows a visit by Manuel Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers. Scott shared his story at the 2010 Study Connection breakfast.

Study Connection began in 1989, founded by Don Wolf, retired CEO and president emeritus of Do it Best Corp. In the last two decades an estimated 10,000 students have gone through the program. Volunteers are matched one-to-one with FWCS students who need academic assistance. Students and volunteers meet weekly after school for one hour during the school year with 79 percent of the students bused to and from local businesses for their tutoring sessions. This not only gives students a chance to receive some extra homework help, but also meet a mentor in the community and learn about local career opportunities.

Study Connection has been replicated in other cities across the nation, including Clinton,Iowa, where the Governor recognized it as the 2000 Volunteer Program of the Year. In 2007, Study Connection received the Indiana Youth Institute Award for investing in youth.

The Study Connection breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Ceruti’s, 6601 Innovation Blvd. Attendance at the breakfast is by invitation only. Media are invited to cover the event.

To get involved with Study Connection, call 467-8811.


With nearly 31,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 51 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.