by Saharra White - LA CityBeat
October 11 - Garfield High School, best known to the outside world as the setting for the 1988 film Stand and Deliver – starring Edward James Olmos as real-life math teacher and tough-love mentor Jaime Escalante – has always been an integral part of the East L.A. community. “It is the only high school in the unincorporated
That community rallied around the school when its auditorium burned down last May, allegedly at the hands of an angry student. Concerned residents called the
The old auditorium hosted everything from the principal’s mass meetings with students to plays and award ceremonies. Politicians also used it as a venue to address neighborhood concerns. “It really is the heart of the community. So many things have happened here,” Del Cueto says. For the time being, the school has moved such functions to its gymnasium and cafeteria.
The cost to rebuild the auditorium is estimated between $20 and 40 million, most but not all covered by insurance. So far the school has received $80,000 in donations from the public. Donations can be made at Bank of America to the “Fund to Rebuild Garfield Auditorium,” created by the LAUSD.
“Who knows how many times someone has held hands with their sweetheart for the first time or stole a kiss when the lights went down, just the memories that were formed in that auditorium are difficult to describe,” Del Cueto says.