Bolivia to honor Jaime Escalante

Teacher inspired the movie 'Stand and Deliver'

LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Bolivia announced plans Friday to honor its native son Jaime Escalante, whose success teaching advanced math at a tough Los Angeles high school inspired the movie "Stand and Deliver."

Escalante, who died Tuesday at his son's home near Sacramento, Calif., will be recognized posthumously as a "cultural ambassador" for his work on behalf of people who have suffered from discrimination, Culture Minister Zulma Yugar said.

"We know that at times when he was teaching, he would wear a Bolivian poncho to assert his national identity," Yugar told the Associated Press. "He spoke of Andean people as a strong people."

A teacher in La Paz before emigrating to the United States in the 1960s, Escalante studied English at night for years to get his California teaching credentials.

His achievements at Garfield High in East Los Angeles inspired the 1988 movie starring Edward James Olmos as Escalante.

Escalante's siblings have said his wish was to be buried in La Paz. President Evo Morales' spokesman Ivan Canelas told state news agency ABI that the government is willing to help repatriate his remains from the United States.

Escalante's children have not yet said where the burial will be, according to his older sister, Olimpia.
comments powered by Disqus