In 1988, a little movie called "Stand and Deliver" was released and made a huge impact in the Latino community. The film was inspired by real-life hero Mr. Escalante, a high school teacher who taught AP calculus at a high school in East Los Angeles.
That plot line doesn't sound all that fascinating but AP classes, let alone calculus, was not your average course in an inner-city high school. This is especially true since the school was suffering from budget cuts and consisted of an impoverished student body whom were often in gangs. Under Mr. Escalante — a teacher that truly believed in them, these student excelled despite the odds against them.
Because of the legacy that Jamie Escalante left behind (he died in 2010) — that includes teaching calculus for 20 years at Garfield High School in which the majority of his students went on to have flourishing careers — the U.S. Postal Service is issuing a stamp in his honor.
There will be a special service to commemorate this amazing event at the high school where he taught on July 16.
According to the Los Angeles Wave, "the illustration is based on a photograph taken by his son Jaime Escalante II, on May 6, 2005, in the classroom at Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento, where his father formerly taught." The image was digitally illustrated by Jason Seiler.
“We celebrate Mr. Escalante today for his charmed ability to create calm within a landscape of calamity,” Robert Cintron, vice president of network operations for the Postal Service, said at the unveiling on July 13. “As a result of staying committed to his belief that all students can learn, kids who had been written off as undisciplined, uninterested, unmanageable and unruly were given a real opportunity at learning. In return his students showed the world that one opportunity was really all that they needed.”
If you haven't seen "Stand and Deliver" it is a must! Here's the trailer.