EAST LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A dedication ceremony for the stamp honoring the late Jaime Escalante, who used unconventional methods to inspire students to master calculus, was held Saturday at Garfield High School.
Escalante taught at Garfield from 1974-91. He gained fame in 1982 when 18 of his students at the East Los Angeles school passed the Advanced Placement calculus test. The College Board, which runs the AP program, accused 14 students of cheating.
Escalante suspected that the accusation of cheating was due to the fact that the students were Latinos from a low-income area.
The College Board denied the allegation and proposed having the 14 students retake the test. Twelve of the 14 took a different exam from the first and all passed.
The students’ success inspired the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver.”
Speakers included Elsa Bolado, who was among the 1982 students whose scores were challenged and is now president of the Jaime Escalante Alumni Foundation and principal of Graham Elementary School in the Florence-Firestone area.
The stamp was issued by the U.S. Postal Service Wednesday during the League of United Latin American Citizens Convention in Washington, D.C.
The stamp’s illustration is based on a photograph taken by Escalante’s son Jaime II in the classroom at Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento where the elder Escalante taught.
It depicts Escalante wearing his signature flat cap, looking toward the viewer, standing in front of a chalkboard on which calculus symbols are visible.
Escalante died on March 30, 2010 at age 79 from cancer.”
He was a genius in teaching, but he was a saint when it came to empowering students,” actor Edward James Olmos, who received a best actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Escalante in “Stand and Deliver,” said at his funeral.
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