Lejuan Edwards was one of those students. He is now a Hardin-Simmons University graduate, whose had to overcome many challenges to date. Now, with a major goal reached, the question remains, what's next for the former HSU cowboy.
In 2007, their story made it to the big screen. Sixteen years later, here in Abilene, sits proudly 33-year-old Lejuan Edwards.
one of the 150 original Freedom Writers.
Then, despite being raised in a low-income single parent home, Edwards was one of the lucky ones. A star athlete, both on the football and baseball field. It was his athletic talent that opened doors to opportunities only dreamt about by others in his neighborhood. But with major league draft offers and nine years of professional arena football, came obstacles.
One's that brought Edwards to Hardin-Simmons University, away from his biological family, but closer to a new one.
Dr. Sue Robinson and her family became Edward's support system, both in the classroom and in the stands. Robinson is also a Freedom Writers Educator, and knows the adversity students like Edwards had to overcome.
But Edwards didn't quit and on Saturday, almost two decades after graduating high school, he became a HSU alumni.
Lejuan is in the process of starting a non-profit organization to benefit low-income teenage athletes.
An extended 'Freedom Writers' documentary is currently being filmed. It's expected to be completed sometime next year.