The characters in “Stand and Deliver” went through a great deal in this movie and all brought something else to the movie. The star of the movie is Jaime Escalante played by Edward James Olmos. Escalante is the teacher of the students that quits his job with a computer company to teach at Garfield High School. He comes to teach computer science, but the school did not get the computers and he has to teach math. He takes over the math class and expects a great deal of his students and challenges the faculty to allow him to teach Mr. Escalante encounters some opposition to teaching calculus from Mr. Molina, the principal and Raquel Ortega, a teacher. Mr. Molina is the principal of Garfield High School played by Carmen Argenziano. Mr. Molina laughs at Mr. Escalante’s idea of teaching calculus, but he supports him when the program gets under way. Raquel Ortega, played by Virginia Paris, is not as helpful as Mr. Molina and she doubts the abilities of the students many different times throughout the movie. The students in the movie are very important and there are many that are central to the movie. Angel Guzman, played by Lou Diamond Phillips, is the tough guy of the school that chooses to cut class with his fellow gang members. Mr. Escalante reaches out to him and through the movie we see his transition into one of the brighter students while maintaining his gangster image. Ana Delgado, played by Vanessa Marquez, is the quiet girl that happens to be brilliant. She is almost forced to drop out of school so she can work at her family’s restaurant full time, but Mr. Escalante intervenes and convinces her father to allow her to come back to school. Pancho, played by Will Gotay, is the least smart student in the class and lets everyone know it. He considers not taking the calculus class to instead work at a factory and make money, but again Mr. Escalante convinces him to take the class and he passes the AP exam along with all the others. Lupe Escobar, played by Ingrid Oliu, deals with a great deal of responsibility at home and we see that she is responsible for getting her little brothers and sisters to bed and preparing her father’s lunch. The other important characters in the movie are the agents from the ETS (Educational Testing Service). Dr. Ramirez, played by Andy Garcia, and Dr. Pearson, played by Rif Hutton, are sent to Garfield to investigate the possibility of Mr. Escalante’s students cheating. The ETS suspects the students cheated because of irregularities in the test, which they say many times in the movie, but they still come off as bad guys and Mr. Escalante even threatens Dr. Ramirez. Economic Culture
The economic culture of these students was displayed throughout the movie to show that they came from poor families and neighborhoods. When people were trying to sell their goods on the street, such as bags of apples and having a taco stand, it was a symbol of a way of life and how people tried to survive. It was a traditional ritual for vendors to fill the streets in order to make money. Another symbol of their poor economic culture was stealing, such as when Mr. Escalante came out to his car and found his stereo gone. While outsiders may view the students as thieves, they personally saw it as a way of life, and doing whatever was necessary to get money.
The culture of the work was displayed in the students as they had to help their families in restaurants, fix cars, and tend to the needs of children. Ana had to help with her family’s restaurant. Mr. Escalante visited the restaurant to talk with Ana’s father. Unfortunately, her father did not take into consideration that Ana could excel in life with a college education. The father thought that since everyone else was working in the restaurant, Ana would be fine working there too. She decided to drop out, but ended up rejoining the class.
One of the students, Pancho, was skilled in...