Late police officer from 47th honored with school naming

P.S. 483 faculty, students and parents, along with police officers from the 47th Precinct, cut the ribbon during the naming ceremony for P.S. 314.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

A recent school naming honored a popular police officer from the 47th Precinct.

On Friday, October 9, P.S. 483 The Matilda Avenue School, located at 4520 Matilda Avenue, held a school naming and ribbon cutting ceremony for campus building P.S. 314, naming the building the ‘Police Officer Robert V. Oswain Educational Campus’ in honor of fallen 4-7 police officer Robert Oswain, who passed away in May 2010.

Oswain, who served in the precinct for ten years, passed away at 42 from cancer as the result of inhaling toxic debris from ground zero.

On Sept. 11, Oswain traveled from the the Bronx to ground zero to help assist victims during the recovery and rescue efforts.

The school building’s naming commemorates and honors a police officer who greatly serviced the community and risked his life for others when they needed him the most.

“(On 9/11) he left the Bronx to go down to the (Ground Zero) site – which unfortunately and ultimately took his life,” said Steve Miller, president of Community Education Council 11. “That alone showed how much he genuinely cared about his community and how he was willing to risk his life to help others. It really says a lot about his character as a police officer and as a person – and this school’s naming in honor of him is well deserved.”

“Oswain was a very important part of the NYPD who took his responsibilities seriously and considered nobody a stranger – he made himself available to anybody and everybody,” said Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who was present at the school renaming. “Now, hundreds of thousands of children who walk through those school doors will always remember his name and what he meant to the 47th Precinct, to the NYPD and to this city.”

“It was very fitting to hold a school naming in honor of a police officer who not only served in our precinct but gave his life to service others,” said Maria Cioffi, interim principal for P.S. 483, who added that the school and the 47th Precinct have generated ties since the naming such as an upcoming Halloween reading session from police officers to students at the school.

“He should be known and remembered, and now, every student who walks in or by that building will know about him and his story,” she said.

Building 314, located on The Matilda Avenue School’s campus, was recently reopened in September for elementary school students after the building was closed in 2008.

Prior to it’s closing, the building operated as the St. Anthony Parish School for over 50 years before the school merged with St. Frances of Rome School.

The school naming shortly follows the renaming of P.S. 481, located at 1684 White Plains Road, (formerly St. Dominic’s School) as the Madeline Provenzano Educational Campus in honor of the late former councilwoman on Friday, October 16.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at

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