Arson hits 'Stand and Deliver' high school

May 21, 2007 at 3:01 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 21 (UPI) -- Suspected arson forced classes to be canceled at Garfield High School, the East Los Angeles school made famous in the movie, "Stand and Deliver."

Fire investigators said the blaze that gutted the school's auditorium, was deliberately set early Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. While firefighters kept the flames from spreading, the school built in 1925 sustained extensive smoke and water damage.

The roof covering the auditorium collapsed. Most of the hundreds of seats were burned, and only one of the eight ornate chandeliers remained.

"You think of all the memories in there, all the kisses stolen after the lights went out," Principal Omar Del Cueto said. "There's no way to bring this old girl back to her original grandeur."

Del Cueto said he wasn't worried about the building's repairs. "The emotional toll is really the biggest hurt," he said. This school is one of the anchors of East L.A."

"Stand and Deliver" is a 1988 film staring Edward James Olmos as a teacher who inspires his dropout-prone students to learn calculus to raise their self-esteem and score so well on a standardized math test that they are accused of cheating.

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