Sunday Spotlight: Rachel Jeantel's Transformation

One year after her testimony in the George Zimmerman trial, ABC News' Matt Gutman speaks with key witness Rachel Jeantel.
3:51 | 07/13/14

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Transcript for Sunday Spotlight: Rachel Jeantel's Transformation
In this week's "Sunday spotlight" it's been a year since the controversial verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, found not guilty of murder for the killing of trayvon martin. One of the key witnesses in the trial was Rachel jeantel. A close friend of trayvon martin who was on the phone with him right before he was shot. Her testimony made her a target of ridicule. She's turned her life around. Thanks to hard work and some good samaritans. Matt Gutman has the story. Are you unable to read that at all? Reporter: It was the moment that made Rachel jeantel a house hold name. Can you read any of the words on it? Reporter: The moment that the 19-year-old was outed as illiterate on national TV. I don't understand. Reporter: There's this point where he basically asks you to read the letter. What do you say? I'm not able to read it. Reporter: Why was that? I didn't learn how to read cursive. Reporter: Bringing her rough dialect to an all-white jury. Argumentative and defiant. Are you listening? You think? No. Reporter: And all but embodying the racial rift the trial seemed to dig in the country. The ridicule was instant and merciless. She comes across as brutally ignorant. Reporter: Including this picture posted on instagram by defense attorney don west's own daughter. It reads, we beat stupidity. Celebration cones. No. Reporter: You could argue that part of her died on the stand in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, accused of killing 17-year-old trayvon martin. You could argue that she was reborn. What did that feel like? You didn't know me. To judge me. Reporter: You didn't know you, to judge you? Yes. Reporter: During a break in testimony that rod Vereen, a Miami attorney, decided to act. I didn't like what took place in social media, and the attacks she received nationwide. I couldn't turn my back to that. And I couldn't turn a blind eye to the problems that I knew she had. Reporter: He coached her that night and hasn't stopped. Helping to set up a support group he would call the village. Jeantel was born premature. English not her first language at home. And Reading never came easily. Some of the articles I had seen said, you had, at the time of the trial, a fourth grade Reading level. Yeah. I wanted to go for help. Reporter: But no one helped until Vereen's army of tutors descended. For up to seven hours a day. And they were tough. Very, very, very tough. That's what I needed. To be honest. That's what I needed. Reporter: She was sent to a new school. Last month, yep, that's her. In those heels. And that smile. Oh, my gosh. That morning. I -- I kissed my bed. It was like, thank you, Jesus. This is the last time waking up at this time. I really woke up. From the first time since I started going to this school. Reporter: The so-called illiterate girl walking in her own high school graduation. Where do you see yourself five years from now? Reporter: Following your dreams? Following my dreams. And graduating college. Reporter: All of them believe, it will take a village. For ABC news, Matt Gutman. Miami. We end with welcome news. The Pentagon reported no deaths of service members in Afghanistan this week. That's all for today. Check out "World news" with David Muir tonight. I'll see you tomorrow on "Gma." Good morning, everyone.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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