Written by Joe Rizza Friday, 27 November 2009 10:42
Elmont School Board President Frank Ragona passed away suddenly last week to the shock of the community. Mr. Ragona, for years, had been heavily involved in the Elmont school community so much so that he became the school board’s president. But his commitment to the schools can be traced back to more than a decade ago.
I first met Mr. Ragona while I was writing an article on the bond referendum in 1999 to add more space to all of the schools in the Elmont School District. Then-superintendent of schools Dr. Maria Palandra was giving presentations on the space that would be added to each school and the need to alleviate overcrowding so that the children of Elmont would have adequate space in which to learn.
Back then, Mr. Ragona was not on the school board. In fact, it wouldn’t be till years later that he would run successfully on the board. In 1999, Mr. Ragona was a concerned Covert Avenue School parent who wanted the best for the children of Elmont. He, therefore, helped push for the referendum, which was passed by the voters.
Over the years, Mr. Ragona’s commitment to the children of Elmont never wavered as he served on the school board, a volunteer position, holding to the beliefs he felt were right, even when some members of the community may have disagreed with him.
I can also remember Mr. Ragona at a feast/festival, although I cannot remember which one, holding his daughter Francesca. His daughter, son Matthew and wife Rosalie were the loves of his life.
Mr. Ragona certainly will be missed and his absence leaves a hole in the Elmont community. My condolences to his family and friends, of which there were many.