The U.S. Postal Service honored Bolivian-born educator Jaime Escalante with his very own first-class mail Forever stamp.
The commemorative stamp was unveiled at the 87th conference of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.
In January, USPS spokesman Roy Betts told NBC that Escalante was chosen to receive this honor because of his work as a teacher at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. “He is, without question, a very deserving subject,” Betts explained. “The legendary educator is well-known for academic excellence and working with inner-city youth to help them master calculus.”
In 1982, 18 of Escalante’s students passed an Advanced Placement Calculus test — an exam so difficult at the time that only 2 percent of graduating high school seniors even attempted it, the Washington Post reported. Fourteen of the students were accused of cheating on the exam, and 12 retook it and passed again.
Their story became the subject of the 1988 movie “Stand and Deliver.” Actor Edward James Olmos, who played Escalante in the film, was present at the stamp’s unveiling. He called the the unveiling of the stamp “a monumental moment,” NBC Latino reports.
Escalante, who died in 2010, was represented at the ceremony by his son, Jaime Jr. “My father always tried to do his best at whatever he did and he did it with pride,” he said in an interview with NBC. “It is truly an honor for our family.”
According to NBC, Escalante’s “forever” stamp was designed by artists Jason Seiler and Greg Breeding to look like an oil painting, and is based on a photograph of the late teaching legend taken in 2005 at a high school in Sacramento, California.