View Full Version : The path to success doesn't always have to mean a golden bullet or massive debt

03 March 2010, 07:09 AM (,0,7083760.story?page=1)

I thought that this story was an inspirational reminder that not everyone who succeeds in life in general has to go into huge debt for a school which is seen as a golden bullet - sometimes you just have to work hard:

LATimes Article: "Jaime Escalante dies at 79; math teacher who challenged East L.A. students to 'Stand and Deliver'" (,0,7083760.story?page=1)

After high school, he served in the army during a short-lived Bolivian rebellion. Although he had toyed with the idea of attending engineering school in Argentina, he wound up enrolling at the Bolivian state teachers college, Normal Superior. Before he graduated, he was teaching at three top-rated Bolivian schools. He also married Fabiola Tapia, a fellow student at the college.

At his wife's urging, Escalante gave up his teaching posts for the promise of a brighter future in the United States for their firstborn, Jaime Jr. (A second son, Fernando, would follow.) With $3,000 in his pocket and little more than "yes" and "no" in his English vocabulary, Escalante flew alone to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve 1963. He was 33 (emphasis mine).

His wife and son later joined him in Pasadena, where his first job was mopping floors in a coffee shop across the street from Pasadena City College, where he enrolled in English classes. Within a few months, he was promoted to cook, slinging burgers by day and studying for an associate's degree in math and physics by night. That led to a better-paying job as a technician at a Pasadena electronics company, where he became a prized employee. But the classroom still beckoned to the teacher inside him. He earned a scholarship to Cal State Los Angeles to pursue a teaching credential. In the fall of 1974, when he was 43, he took a pay cut to begin teaching at Garfield High at a salary of $13,000.

"My friends said, 'Jaime, you're crazy.' But I wanted to work with young people," he told The Times. "That's more rewarding for me than the money."


03 March 2010, 09:42 PM
Thanks for the great read Rebecca. :) It would have been great if there were more math teachers like him at my old high school.

Motivation will definitely help you get to where you want and accumulating a huge debt surely isn't a necessity for attaining your dream.

04 April 2010, 12:37 AM
You're welcome! I heard a good piece on NPR today about him. The world needs more people like this guy.

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04 April 2010, 12:37 AM
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