New Issues: ‘Dedicated teacher’ commemorated with USPS Forever stamp

Yesterday afternoon, at the 87th conference of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Postal Service dedicated its Jaime Escalante Forever stamp.

Escalante, who died in 2010, left his native Bolivia in the early 1960s and came to the U.S., where he earned widespread recognition for his groundbreaking teaching methods. Many of his inner-city students – deemed “unteachable” by some – eventually mastered calculus. His story is told in the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver, in which he’s portrayed by U.S. actor and director Edward James Olmos.

“This is a historic moment,” said LULAC president Roger Rocha, at the dedication ceremony.

The stamp is the 16th in the USPS’ Distinguished American series, which began in 2000. USPS spokesman Roy Betts said Escalante’s teaching legacy in Los Angeles made him an ideal candidate for commemoration on a stamp.

“He is, without question, a very deserving subject,” he Betts. “The legendary educator is well-known for academic excellence and working with inner-city youth to help them master calculus.”

 

Olmos, who spoke at yesterday’s stamp dedication, said the unveiling was a “monumental moment” and something the U.S. needs to embrace through these trying times.

“It gives us a sense of who we are, a sense of dignity, of fortitude,” he said. “I don’t know one president, one pope, one engineer, one sports giant, one astronaut, that could have done it without a teacher. If it wasn’t for teachers, none of us would be where we are today.”

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