• The namesake of the McKay is Donald McKay, a master shipbuilder who established a shipyard right here in East Boston. Born in 1810 in Nova Scotia, Canada, McKay began the trade of shipbuilding in New York and Maine. After experiencing hostility from other ship builders in New York regarding his immigration status, McKay sought finance to start his own shipyard in Boston. In 1845, the McKay Shipyard Company was established. He constructed mostly clipper ships, which were large vessels with three or fours masts and wide bows which allowed for high sailing speeds. They were often utilized for transatlantic trade and the New York - San Francisco route during the California Gold Rush.  His most famous ship, The Flying Cloud, was considered a crafted masterpiece and went on to break many sailing records. In 1874, McKay retired with a worldwide legacy of masterclass shipbuilding. 

    Throughout its existence, the neighborhood of East Boston has been an area that housed immigrants and first generation Americans. Serving Canadian and Irish Immigrants in the 19th Century, Italians, Eastern Europeans, and Jewish people in the 20th Century, and Latinx individuals in the 21st. Today, East Boston remains an extremely diverse and unique community.

Donald McKay School circa 1933
  • With nearly 120 locations, the Boston Public School District has played a pivotal role in shaping the educational landscape of our city and nation. Boston holds the distinction of being one of the centers of education in the United States, earning its reputation as the birthplace of American public schooling. Since the earliest days of our nation, Boston has been a hub of intellectual exploration, producing some of the greatest minds in science, math, literature and beyond. 

    Our school building was constructed during the educational boom of the 1920s and marked a time of expansion and innovation in the Boston Public School system as the district sought to accommodate a growing population of students. As stewards of Boston's educational history, we recognize the significant role of our school in shaping the lives of countless students and families. We are proud to continue fostering a sense of community and growth within our walls, honoring the legacy of education that has thrived in our building for generations.