By Leonard Rodriguez
This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 500 years, Latino men and women have positively influenced the face of United States society. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.

Jaime Escalante

Jaime Escalante’s success as a teacher was the impetus for the 1988 movie “Stand and Deliver.” His work teaching advanced placement calculus to disadvantaged Latino students in 1982 led to scores so high that the Educational Testing Service (ETS) began investigating the scores validity. The ETS mandated that the students retake a more difficult test. Escalante encouraged his students to comply, 12 agreed and all passed. The incident garnered national controversy because many believed that had the students not been Latino, their scores would never had been questioned. This led director Ramon Menedez to release “Stand and Deliver” which documented Escalante’s story. Escalante was praised for his achievements by Presidents Reagan and Bush, who calls Escalante one of his heroes.