Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on September 16th, 2014

Jaime Escalante: How he became one of the world's most respected teachers.

Jaime, who passed away at 79 in 2010, became famous from the 1988 movie, "Stand and Deliver."

This movie told the dramatic story of how Jaime captured the imaginations of his Garfield High School students in East Los Angeles, 99% of whom were Hispanic and most of whom were poor. He led them to remarkable academic achievements.

But the most dramatic story may be Jaime's.

Jaime Escalante
Jaime Escalante   Photo: abcnews7

Born in Bolivia in 1930 to school teacher parents, Jaime was raised by his mother after his parents divorced when he was 9.

As a young man Jaime was a top student at Normal Superior, a Bolivian teachers college, where he met his wife Fabiola. She encouraged him to go to the U.S. for a better future for Jaime Jr (the couple would later have another son, Fernando).

With just $3,000, 33 year old Jaime arrived in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, 1963. He didn't speak English but soon sent for his wife and son, after landing a job cleaning tables and mopping floors at a Pasadena coffee shop.

Jaime learned English at Pasadena City College, where he also studied physics and math. As he learned English, he got a better paying job at a Pasadena electronics firm, where he became an outstanding employee.

But Jaime's heart was in teaching and in 1974 at age 43 he quit his job and took a big pay cut to teach at Garfield High School.

"My friends said, 'Jaime, you're crazy.' But I wanted to work with young people," he told The Los Angeles Times. "That's more rewarding for me than the money."

Jaime's specialty was calculus, which the school had not previously taught, believing its students weren't capable of learning it.

But with his charm, Jaime took control in what had been difficult class rooms and also entertained his students with impressions, jokes and props as he motivated them to succeed. The result was incredible.

Eventually Jaime had his inner city kids achieving top calculus scores and high scores in other subjects on Advanced Placement college exams, as many of them went on to higher educations.

Because of Jaime influencing so many young minds, we now have many more doctors, attorneys, businesspeople, engineers, managers and teachers, who in turn are guiding numerous young minds down the path to success today.

Success Tip of the Week: Can one person make a difference? Jaime did and so can you and I.

Editor's Note: To learn more about Jaime, click here. To see a 58 second movie trailer for “Stand and Deliver”, click here.

In the next KazanToday: A man with the courage to confront his corrupt government.

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