P.S. 958 has a new name: The Dr. Antonia Pantoja School of Sunset Park.
Pantoja founded the ASPIRA Association in 1961. The organization is dedicated to developing Hispanic youths’ educational and leadership capacity.
In 1996 Pantoja became one of only four Puerto Ricans to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
She died in 2002 at age 79.
The Boricua Festival Committee, Inc. was instrumental in renaming the school and received support from Community Board 7, Councilwoman Alexa Aviles, Principal Emily Shapiro and Pantoja’s lifelong partner, Dr. Wilhelmina Perry, who spoke at the Sept. 26 ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“My hope, my wish and my prayer is that for every student that enters this building they get to know who Dr. Antonia Pantoja was, and her legacy,” Perry said. “As they get to know those things, I hope they come to know about themselves, who they are and what they want to accomplish in this world and what they want their legacy to be.”