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New middle school named after Brian McCarthy

By Dean Shalhoup - Senior Staff Writer | Jul 2, 2022

The late Brian McCarthy, for whom Nashua's new middle school will be named. (Courtesy file photo by ALLEGRA BOVERMAN)

NASHUA – The legacy of one of the most dedicated, well-informed and universally respected public servants in Nashua history will live on well into the city’s future, the result of the Board of Education’s vote this week to name the city’s newest school The Brian S. McCarthy Middle School.

An ad-hoc Naming Committee formed earlier this month to solicit suggestions from the public, including city and school officials and students, spent several days going through the email responses, the intent being to narrow down significantly the choices based on the suggestions.

But when the four-member Naming Committee met June 23, members were unable to reach a consensus on a name to recommend to the full Board of Education.

Instead, they agreed to bring the matter to the full board at its Monday meeting.

A motion was made at the Monday meeting to open the matter for discussion, which eventually led to a 6-3 vote in favor of naming the school for McCarthy.

The dissenting votes were cast by Paula Johnson, Christina Darling and Jessica Brown.

McCarthy, a 25-year alderman and five-term board president, was 64 when he passed in November 2018, shortly after suffering a medical emergency as he, his daughter Kimberly, and longtime friend and fellow Alderman Rick Dowd were leaving Gillette Stadium after a Sunday night New England Patriots game.

Of all of McCarthy’s contributions over his decades of service, it was his work as chairman of the high school Building Committee and his role in the city’s acquisition of Pennichuck Water Works that brought him the most satisfaction and pride, friends and associates said while mourning their loss in the days after McCarthy’s death.

“He was very proud of the school projects,” Mayor Jim Donchess said, referring to the construction of Nashua High School North in 2003-04 and the concurrent major renovations of Nashua High School South.

McCarthy’s widow, Gloria McCarthy, described her late husband as “an insightful, intelligent man, and a problem solver” for whom “education was paramount.”

He was also a lifelong learner who “always encouraged our children to never stop asking questions, to understand how things work, and to always keep exploring,” McCarthy said.

While her husband “would not have sought this kind of recognition, it’s an honor that he so richly deserves.”

Kimberly McCarthy called it “such and honor that the school will be named for my dad.

“I know it’s a rarity to name a school for a person here in Nashua, but (the naming) should be a testament to the magnitude of his contributions to the city,” she said, adding that the decision to name the school for her father “reflects the character and kind of person (who) students and future community leaders should aspire to be.”

In addition to McCarthy’s deep dedication to improving and advancing the city’s education infrastructure, he was also known for his “long term … connection to the area” where his namesake school is being built, his daughter said.

“He helped establish the conservation land around (the school site), and was involved in the land acquisition process,” she said, noting that the family’s longtime home is in the same area as the new school will be.

“That he was “Involved with the (middle school) project right up to his passing makes it a fitting project, and location, to be named in his memory.”

Next up for the new school is to decide on its mascot, and what its school colors should be.

School officials are in the process of sending emails to all students, families and staff asking for suggestions about the mascot and colors. The link to submit suggestions will be open through the end of the business day on Friday, July 15.

The new school, which will replace Elm Street Middle School, will be located off Buckmeadow Road, between Main Dunstable Road and Ridge Road in Nashua’s so-called southwest quadrant.

It is scheduled to open in 2024.


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