With 616 planned seats from kindergarten through fifth grade, the school at 55-20 Metropolitan Avenue features 23 new classrooms, a science laboratory, and gymnasium. P.S. 290 was created in 2010, and until now was co-located with I.S. 73 in Maspeth.
“It has just been amazing,” Principal Mieasia Harris said. “The building is just beautiful.”
The 431 students currently enrolled in prekindergarten through fourth grade are referred to by their teachers as scholars, something Harris says is an important facet of their education.
“I want them to see themselves as scholars and always learning,” she explained. “I thought it would be a great idea to help cultivate that thinking and hopefully we would see the academic behaviors parallel that in the classrooms.”
Next year the school is expected to reach full capacity with the addition of a new fifth grade class.
Chancellor Carmen Fariña explained that while ribbon-cutting ceremonies are on the list of things she does not regularly attend, she chose to made an exception last week to recognize and remember the former congresswoman.
“I was a great admirer of Geraldine Ferraro,” Fariña said. “I stayed awake all night the day that she was nominated for vice president. I still remember parts of the speech and I still have in my possession the Time magazine issue that had her on the cover.”
The cover Fariña referred to was on May 23, 1984, when Ferraro was nominated as the first-ever female candidate from a major political party to run for vice president, joining the ticket with candidate Walter Mondale.
They were eventually defeated by Ronald Reagan. Ferraro later served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights during the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998.
Last week, her daughter Donna Zaccaro remembered her mother, who passed away in 2011, as an influential politician, and made sure the students at the new school understood that she was an educator first and foremost.
“There was nothing more important to her than education,” Zaccaro said. “She recognized that her education was the reason she was able to achieve what she was able to achieve.”
Zaccaro brought a copy of a 2013 documentary about her mother that she both produced and directed, “Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way,” for students at the school to watch as inspiration and to learn about the district’s former congresswoman.
“The fact that not only is there a school, but that it is the first new school in this area for more than 80 years and one that is focused on excellence, she would be so thrilled,” she said.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo recalled the time his father worked with Ferraro in Congress and encouraged the children at the ceremony to also strive for the same excellence.
“Students from the Academy for Scholars and the Riverview School now have the opportunity to attend a school which represents a legend of a woman, who I believe was a true pioneer,” Addabbo said. “It is my hope that her qualities and commitment to helping others are emulated through the students now learning at this campus.”