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Beloved pol’s name set for Ridgewood school

Geraldine Ferraro's name lives on as officials announced a new school in Ridgewood will bear her name.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A school in Ridgewood will bear the name of a glass ceiling-shattering congresswoman from Queens when it opens this fall.

Officials announced PS 290, currently in operation as IS 73 in Maspeth, will be renamed after former schoolteacher and Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro when the building opens at the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Tonsor Street for the 2014-15 school year.

State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) said Ferraro’s achievements are a lesson to others, so naming a school after her is a fitting tribute to her legacy.

“I have championed both this school and this name from the beginning and could think of no other person more fitting to have a school named in their honor,” she said. “Geraldine Ferraro was a great role model to me and countless other women in politics, a champion for our community, city and state, a wonderful member of Congress, teacher, lawyer and an inspiration to us all.”

Ferraro, who died in 2011 at the age of 75 following a long battle with cancer, was previously honored with the renaming of the Long Island City post office in 2010. The intersection of Austin Street and Ascan Avenue in Forest Hills, close to where Ferraro once lived, was renamed “Geraldine Ferraro Way” in her memory in October.

She became a rising star in the national Democratic Party while in Congress and during the 1984 presidential campaign, the party’s nominee, former Vice President Walter Mondale, chose Ferraro as his running mate.

The first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket and a Forest Hills congresswoman who championed Queens in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years, Ferraro lived in the same Forest Hills Gardens house from the beginning of her congressional career in 1978 until the early 2000s.

After graduating from Fordham Law, Ferraro went on to become an assistant district attorney in the Queens district attorney’s office, where she created a special victims bureau. While in Congress, she sponsored the Women’s Economic Equality Act and created a Flextime program for public employees.

In 1993, she was appointed as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by then-President Bill Clinton.

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the new school, at 55-20 Metropolitan Ave., will help to alleviate overcrowding in School District 24, specifically at nearby PS 71 in Ridgewood and PS 153 in Maspeth.

“I am thrilled to announce the name of this new campus after a congresswoman who was a teacher at one point in her career and continues to be an inspiration to youngsters around the country who are interested in public service,” Walcott said. “I want to thank Cathy Nolan for her support of this new campus.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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