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Garfield High auditorium to be named for Escalante

March 31, 2010 |  6:30 pm

The auditorium at the high school where famed math teacher Jaime Escalante taught for 15 years will be named in his honor, Los Angeles school district officials announced late Wednesday.

The auditorium at Garfield High School, which was badly damaged by a fire in 2007, is under construction and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. A 17-year-old Garfield student was convicted of setting the blaze, sentenced to juvenile camp and ordered to pay restitution. The fire caused an estimated $30-million in damage.

Escalante began working at the East Los Angeles campus in 1974 and gained fame for his success in  teaching math to scores of inner city, largely minority students and helping them pass Advanced Placement calculus classes. He was portrayed by Edward James Olmos in the 1988 movie "Stand and Deliver" and was widely called the best teacher in America.

Escalante left Garfield in 1991 and taught in Sacramento and then his native Bolivia. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer and died Tuesday.

-- Jason Song