It may seem surprising to some to know that revered teacher Jaime Escalante was taught math by his mother, also an educator in his hometown in Bolivia.
But it may not be surprising to learn that he continued teaching until just before his death in 2010, when he returned to Bolivia.
These are some of the interesting tidbits visitors will learn about the 1969 Pasadena City College alum at the "Jaime Escalante: A Life Con Ganas" exhibit that will open Thursday and run through April 10 at PCC's Circadian.
"The exhibit is semi-chronological. It highlights his life as an educator," said exhibit curator Reina Prado. "He had this wonderful ability to teach (math), to make it accessible."
Prado worked on gathering Escalante's personal artifacts, borrowed from his family, for about a year, collecting stories from family and students along the way.
She wanted to be sure the exhibit showcased Escalante's life, work and accomplishments before and after the popular movie based on his work with students at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles came out in 1988. "Stand and Deliver" featured Edward James Olmos portraying Escalante and Lou Diamond Philips as one of his tough students.
"He didn't use textbooks (to teach)," said Prado. "He didn't believe in the textbooks at that time. So he created his own teaching tools."
Some of those tools will be on display at the exhibit along with some worksheets he created to teach his students in his advanced math classes.
One wall will feature a streaming of videos featuring productions of his work with the Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Education (FASE), testimonials from former students and from a memorial at Garfield High School held soon after his death.
"He had such a high standard for his students, and they respected him for it," said Prado. "They never wanted to fail 'Kimo', as they called him."
The exhibit's grand opening will be held during a VIP event Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Circadian.
The VIP reception is $25 per person which will go towards scholarships in Escalante's honor. Two students, future math teachers, will receive Jaime Escalante scholarships during the event.
As part of the exhibit, several activities are planned such as a reading of the play "Stand and Deliver" at 6 p.m. March 19 in PCC's Creveling Lounge. The reading is in conjunction with PCC's partnership with the Pasadena Playhouse and the "Mi Historia, Mi Manera" initiative.
Jay Mathews from the Washington Post will share his experience writing the biography "Escalante: The Best Teacher in America" from 10 to 11:30 a.m. March 20 in PCC's Westerbeck Recital Hall; Luis Torres, journalist and author of "His Students: Escalante's Living Legacy," who will share his work from noon to 1:30 p.m. March 24 in PCC's Creveling Lounge; and the movie "Stand and Deliver" will be screened at 6 p.m. April 2 in the Campus Center WiFi Lounge.
For more information on the exhibit and related activities, visit www.pasadena.edu.
The free exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Circadian is at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.