CORVALLIS, Ore. - Becky Dudney, a Madras High School teacher and alum of Oregon State University, has been awarded a scholarship to attend the Freedom Writers Institute in Long Beach, Calif. this summer.

The focus of the Freedom Writers Foundation and its institute is to decrease dropout rates and help at-risk students reach their full potential. The institute trains and supports language arts teachers of at-risk middle and high school students by using the Freedom Writers Method.

The story of Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers has received worldwide attention with the release in 2007 of the feature film "The Freedom Writers" and the sale of nearly 800,000 copies of the Freedom Writers Diary, which is now published in eight languages. More information on the programs can be found at

The OSU College of Education assisted in the promotion of the scholarship opportunity and Dudney was selected from a group of many qualified applicants. She received both a Bachelor of Arts for English and Masters in Education degree from OSU. She has taught at Madras High School for three years.

"I applied for the scholarship not just for my own professional development, but for the opportunity to do good for my students," Dudley said. "A reason I am so excited about the opportunity is because I know its benefits will extend far into the future - learning is a lifelong event."

A unique aspect of this scholarship is that Dudney will share her experiences and those of her students with the scholarship sponsors.

The scholarship was created by Our Brothers Keepers, a group of 1963 alumni from OSU. After connecting at their 40th reunion, this group of fraternity brothers found that a common theme had emerged in their life experiences - the desire to give back. In addition to the Freedom Writers Institute scholarship, they support the Mudd Nick Foundation in Manzanita, which has provided camp scholarships to more than 900 children in Tillamook County. The group also has supported Friends of Pimpollo, a Salem-based organization supporting children and their families in southern Mexico; and the relocation of two families displaced by Hurricane Katrina to the Northwest, including the support for a family member to receive a teaching degree at OSU.

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Dave Dukehart,