U.S. Embassy Celebrates Legacy of Jaime Escalante
September 8, 2016 — The U.S. Embassy hosted a posthumous tribute to Professor Jaime Escalante on Wednesday, September 7th, at 19:00 at Cinemateca Boliviana, in La Paz. On the occasion, the Embassy celebrated the launching of a commemorative stamp in honor of Jaime Escalante. The United States Postal Service issued the stamp on July 13, 2016.
Escalante began teaching math in the United States in the early 1970’s. A few years after Escalante began teaching at Garfield High School, in Los Angeles where he offered to teach a calculus class. Calculus was a demanding subject, and Escalante expected commitment from his students, who attended special classes both before and after school and during the summer. He promoted a team spirit and did not tolerate anyone missing class or homework. Four of the students from his first class of five passed the notoriously difficult Advanced Placement exam in 1979. Two years later, 14 of the 15 students who took the test passed.
In 2001, after many years of preparing teenagers for the AP calculus exam, Escalante returned to Bolivia. He died on March 30, 2010, aged 79, at his son’s home while undergoing treatment for cancer in the U.S.
The story of the dedicated teacher and his students attracted international attention with the release of the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver, based on his life. Celebrating Jaime Escalante’s legacy, the U.S. Embassy sponsored the screening of ‘Stand and Deliver’ at Cinemateca Boliviana on September 7.