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What's in a Name?

His gifts to schools: time, money

A School Board member for 32 years, Al Chiaramonte also gave thousands of dollars to the schools.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 20, 2002


It was a new practice for the Hillsborough County School Board. So it went with a safe choice when it finally decided to name a school after somebody who was still eligible for the census.

Alfonso "Al" Chiaramonte was an educator, veteran School Board member, publisher, philanthropist -- and alive -- when his namesake school opened in 1970 at 6001 S Himes Ave.

A Tampa native and son of Sicilian immigrants, Chiaramonte was the youngest ever voted to the School Board at age 23. Upon retirement in 1968, he was also the longest serving member, with 32 years behind him.

Chiaramonte also made use of his journalism degree, working for the old Tampa Daily Times from 1934 to 1937. He served in the Army Air Force during World War II.

Beginning in the late '40s, he embarked on a long publishing career. His specialty was a series of music journals for the education system that won him numerous awards.

Chiaramonte enthusiastically supported the influx of computers in elementary schools. He gave money to many local schools for just that, particularly Chiaramonte Elementary. Shortly after his death in 1998 at age 85, the school received $13,000 from his trust fund. That was after Chiaramonte had donated a total of $38,000 on five separate occasions before his death.

The school received yet another $30,000 from the trust after the 2000 death of his widow, Ethel.

-- MICHAEL CANNING

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