Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ganas +Respect = Escalante

Jaime Escalante, the former Garfield High teacher highlighted in the movie "Stand and Deliver", is battling bladder cancer. There does not seem to be much hope for his survival. Eddie Olmos and other cast members were at a fundraiser that took place at Garfield today. They hope to help his last days be as comfortable as possible and to help defray healthcare costs.

Mr. Escalante was born in Bolivia, came to the States, after stopping in Puerto Rico to pick up some Science and Math courses, and then studied at PCC. A link below connects you to an article that highlights his Pasadena connection.

I graduated from Garfield in 1970, a few years before Mr. Escalante was on campus. I had a couple of really great teachers, each teacher helping me learn about myself as well as the subject they taught. He helped students learn about ganas (desire) and respect. He, like other truly fine teachers knew that the real lessons being taught in school have to do with discipline, sense of worth, and a vision for the future.

"The day someone quits school he is condemning himself to a future of poverty."

"Respect yourself and respect the integrity of others as well. 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

With his support students shattered the shackles of low expectations; opportunities and options instead of limitations and lost chances. So much is possible, but only with ganas. The number of students taking AP calculus and other subjects during his tenure soared from 18 to 570.
I wasn't able to find an image of Mr. Escalante that I could use for this post. But here is an image of the Garfield High School mascot he would have seen when he was teaching on campus.

To learn more about Garfield or Mr. Escalante:

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