We hope to share some of the Determined Life stories that we find inspirational and motivating. We hope these life stories will ignite that spark and inspire us in our everyday lives. You can help us build this collection of Determined Life stories by connecting with us with your suggestions or stories. You can make a difference!

Determined Life Stories

Feature Life Story - Jaime Escalante

Jaime Alfonso Escalante Gutierrez (December 31, 1930 – March 30, 2010) was a Bolivian educator well known for teaching students calculus from 1974 to 1991 at Garfield High School, East Los Angeles, California. 


He came to the United States in the 1960s to seek a better life. He began teaching math to troubled students in a violent Los Angeles school and became famous for leading many of them to pass the advanced placement calculus test.


Escalante's classroom challenges and successes were the topic of much public discussion in 1988. That year his story was the subject of a book entitled Jaime Escalante: The Best Teacher in America and a film called Stand and Deliver. Both educators and students have found Escalante's work at Garfield inspiring.


Escalante has received many awards for his contributions to the field of education, including the Presidential Medal for Excellence and was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 1999.


Even though Escalante received many awards, he touched even more lives. Allowing his students to flourish and unlocking their full potential even when no one seems to believe in them. 


Escalante died in March 2010 after a long struggle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Fabiola, and their two sons

Determined Life Stories - Who's Who

Fauja Singh 

World's Oldest Marathon Runner

Born in British India, Fauja Singh had thin and weak legs and did not develop the ability to walk until he was five years old.


In 2011 he became the first 100 year old to finish a marathon.

Ian Berry

Founder, Differencemakers Community

Growing up in a small Australian country town, Ian Berry was told by his teachers that he was stupid.


Today he is Australia's leading thinker and author on talent performance enhancement and the founder of a global community of difference makers.

Mother Teresa

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Born in Albania  and named Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, she left home at age 18 to become a missionary.


At age 40 she started the Missionaries of Charity and soon became known to the world as Mother Teresa. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Florence Nightingale

The Lady With The Lamp

Tending to wounded soldiers at night during the Crimean War, Florence Nightengale became known as The Lady with the Lamp.


Afterwards, she laid the foundation of professional nursing with the creation of her nursing school in London in 1860.