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Facing Adversity:

Heather  Abbott
Heather Abbott

Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor

Abbott’s life changed forever when she was struck by bomb shrapnel and lost her left leg. She captivates audiences with her inspirational story of pain, anger, optimism and resilience.

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Geoffrey  Canada
Geoffrey Canada

Inner-City Youth & Education Advocate

Founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Canada addresses inner city poverty and violence. His model was featured in Waiting for Superman and has been replicated across the U.S.

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Brenda  Combs Ed.D.
Brenda Combs Ed.D.

Inspirational Educator & Survivor

A decade ago, Brenda Combs Ed.D. was a homeless cocaine addict and criminal. Today, she's turned her life around and motivates others with her story of perseverance and rediscovery.

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Jeff  Duncan-Andrade
Jeff Duncan-Andrade

Co-Founder of the Community Responsive Education (CRE) Group

As a classroom teacher in East Oakland for the past 24 years, Jeff Duncan-Andrade's pedagogy has been widely studied and acclaimed for producing uncommon levels of social and academic success for students.

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Christopher  Emdin
Christopher Emdin

Professor of Science Education & Author

Christopher Emdin teaches STEM classes at Columbia where he serves as Director of Secondary School Initiatives at the Urban Science Education Center. He wrote Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation.

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Antwone  Fisher
Antwone Fisher

Best-Selling Author & Screenwriter

Antwone Fisher is the screenwriter and real-life subject of the Hollywood hit Antwone Fisher, directed by Denzel Washington. The film tells the story of his childhood at the hands of the foster care system.

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Christopher  Gardner
Christopher Gardner

Entrepreneur, Author & Philanthropist

Chris Gardner is an entrepreneur whose autobiography, the Pursuit of Happyness, became a best seller and the inspiration for the movie of the same name. His talks aim to help others achieve their full potential.

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Erin  Gruwell
Erin Gruwell

Inspirational Educator & Author

Erin Gruwell helped students "written off" by the system harness the power of education to graduate high school. Her dedication to her students resulted in the publication of The Freedom Writers Diary.

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