Jaime Escalante was a one of a kind teacher known for his innovative methods to teach inner city students in Los Angeles with social and economic problems. Escalante was a teacher in his native home of Bolivia, continuing his passion when he stepped foot on U.S. soil circa 1963. A true gift to those considered “unteachable,” Escalante did the impossible to successfully teach any student who crossed his path. In honor of his legacy, according to NBC News, the late teacher will now receive his own commemorative stamp.
With singing and a U.S. Postal Service honor guard, the Jaime Escalante commemorative stamp was officially unveiled at the 87th conference of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Washington, D.C. “This is a historic moment,” said LULAC president Roger Rocha. The stamp is a digital illustration of a 2005 photograph of Escalante, crafted by artists Jason Seiler and Greg Breeding, expertly designed to look like an oil painting.
“I am here today and I am alive today because teachers like Jaime Escalante believed in me,” said the Secretary of Education, John King. “His students had a different sense of what was possible for them because they had a teacher who believed in them. This [stamp] is a wonderful remembrance of him.”
Based on his true life story, the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver was about a high school teacher who worked in a largely Latino neighborhood. Although his classrooms were likely filled with dropouts and gang member students, he still saw potential where others saw a lost cause. Through strenuous methods Escalante—played by the phenomenal Edward James Olmos—helped his students pass the Advanced Placement exam in calculus. Today, Stand and Deliver is considered a classic, and one of the most viewed movies in U.S. film history.
The Mexican-American actor was present at the ceremony: “It gives us a sense of who we are, a sense of dignity, of fortitude. I don’t know one president, one pope, one engineer, one sports giant, one astronaut, that could have done it without a teacher. If it wasn’t for teachers, none of us would be where we are today. God bless Jaime Escalante and God bless the United States Postal Service.”
Jaime Escalante Jr. held back tears remembering his late father during the ceremony. “My father always tried to do his best at whatever he did and he did it with pride. It is truly an honor for our family,” he said.
I’m gonna get Jaime Escalante tattooed on my bicep. That’s the person who deserves it. Changing the education game. Empowering Latinos.
— Blue Ivy’s Nanny (@DAHYOL) May 5, 2016
“The greatest thing you have is your self image,a positive opinion of yourself. You must never let anyone take it from you.”~Jaime Escalante
— KJ (@kjdagr8one) April 28, 2016
— Patricia Guadalupe (@PatriciagDC) July 13, 2016
May Escalante’s legacy live on.