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04/08/2010

Jaime Escalante: April 16-17 tribute planned in East Los Angeles

April 8, 2010 | 12:09 pm

Escalante A public memorial for Jaime Escalante, the celebrated Garfield High School calculus teacher who died March 30 of cancer, will be held April 16-17 in East Los Angeles. 

According to Edward James Olmos, the actor who portrayed Escalante in the movie "Stand and Deliver,"  visitation will begin at 2 p.m. on April 16, at Garfield High School -- in the master teacher's former classroom, which Olmos said will be "reconstituted" to appear as it was during Escalante's tenure in the 1980s.

On April 17 at 9 a.m., mourners on foot will accompany Escalante's casket along Atlantic Boulevard from Garfield to the stadium at East Los Angeles College, where a funeral service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

The stadium holds 22,000 and Olmos says, "I pray we have no seats left. I pray the streets will be jampacked with people saying 'Thank you very much, Jaime.' That's what he deserves. That's what all teachers deserve for their contributions to people's lives. If there was ever a time to say thank you to the teachers of the world, this is it."

Olmos said Escalante's last words to him were that he regretted leaving East L.A. to teach in Sacramento in 1991. "So we're taking him back there," Olmos, who is planning the tribute with Escalante's family, said by phone Thursday.

Escalante's final resting place will be in Los Angeles County, not in his native Bolivia, but the burial will be private.

Arrangements are being handled by Risher Mortuary of Montebello. For details on the service and to leave online condolences for the family, go to www.rishermortuary.com/index.cfm.

-- Elaine Woo

Photo: Jaime Escalante in his Garfield classroom in 1988. Credit: Associated Press

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