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PS 117 Renamed after Tito Puente

By Jose B. Rivera

Photo of the Tito Puente Family as they pose for photos with Congressman Charles RangelEast Harlem, December 9th, 2004. Public School 117 located at East 109th Street between Second and Third Avenues was renamed the Tito Puente Educational Complex in honor of the legendary latino musician Tito Puente.

The event was held out doors and attended by Gov. George Pataki, Congressman Charles Rangel, New York City School’s Chancellor Joel Klein, Borough President C. Virginia Fields, and a representative from Councilman Reed’s office.

Everyone of Tito Puente’s children except for a daughter who was in California attended the event.  Also in attendance was his window. 

Gov. Pataki spoke about his friendship with the famous musician and Tito Puente’s son spoke about how honored the Puente family were to have the school named after his father.  Tito Puente attended school across the street from PS 117 and even has East 110th Street named after him.

The Puente family was quite warm and gracious.  They were accessible to photographers and other media.  Most importantly, they were happy about having a school named after Tito Puente.  So often in life families of famous personalities are cold and inaccessible.  Not so for this family. 

Before leaving for another appointment Gov. Pataki pulled the string which revealed the new school name affixed to the school.  He did this with the help of all the other dignitaries on hand. 

It was a nice event for a great man whom East Harlem is proud to have called a son of the community.

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