Jaime Escalante Farewell and Celebration of his Life
On Friday, April 16, 2010 Garfield hosted a "farewell" and a celebration of the life of Jaime Escalante.
A closed casket visitation took place on on Friday, April 16th from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm in his old classroom (MH1) at Garfield High School.
On Saturday April 17, 2010 at 9:00 am a funeral procession left Garfield High School to East Los Angeles College Stadium. Funeral services wereheld in the stadium at 11:00 am.
(Story line by Jill Leovy, Los Angeles Times • April 17, 2010)
They came old and young, in Sunday best and football jerseys, some who knew Jaime Escalante, and others who knew only his legacy.
As in life, the famed math teacher, who died of bladder cancer March 30 at age 79, welcomed them all. Friday's wake in a lecture hall at Garfield High School had an atmosphere that was part memorial, part church social: somber and festive at the same time, with mortuary workers and mariachis mingling on the school's sunlit front lawn.
In death, Escalante has again received national attention. He became known after his teaching methods propelled a group of Garfield students to surprise success on the 1982 Advanced Placement calculus test. Their performance prompted accusations of cheating, silenced after most of the students passed the test a second time.
Friday's wake was organized in part by Edward James Olmos, who played Escalante in the film, and, pro bono, by Montebello's Risher Mortuary.
A funeral service was held at 11:00 a.m. at Weingart Stadium on the campus of East Los Angeles College. The funeral procession left Garfield High School bound for the stadium at 9:00 a.m.