By: Charlie Sullivan
tradition of service to others established by Marine Corporal Daniel A.
Haggerty, the first U.S. soldier to sacrifice his life during the 1914
invasion of Vera Cruz, Mexico, has become the spirit and foundation of
the school named in his honor.
Historically, the area neighboring the Haggerty School, known as
Strawberry Hill, was part of the Town of Watertown until ceded to
Belmont in 1859, and finally to Cambridge in 1880. During that period,
area students attended class in a wood frame schoolhouse on Cushing
Street that was constructed by Belmont in 1871.
dissatisfied with the facility, rose in unison to pressure the Cambridge
School Committee to provide their children with a modern, more stable
structure. Parent pressure prevailed in 1910, setting a precedent for
future parental involvement, and ground was broken in 1914 for a new
brick school designed by noted architect Edward T.P. Graham.
Unofficially known as the “Mount Auburn School,” from its outset it was
destined to serve the community’s educational and social needs. The ten
academic classrooms, plus woodworking shop, cooking room, and
auditorium, were supplemented with twelve public showers for local
Opened to students in 1915, the new school was named in honor of
national hero and Cambridge resident Daniel A. Haggerty. The first
principal was Harold B. Blazo, a Harvard College graduate who was
appointed a teacher in the system in 1910.
Haggerty School served Strawberry Hill for the next eighty years with
the strong support of the community. The foundation of neighborhood
unity was called upon through the eight-decade tenure of the school to
counter several bureaucratic attempts to merge with neighboring
districts or close the building. In each instance the school, as in the
spirit of its namesake Cpl. Haggerty, survived. The courage of the
community to seek a new school during an era when many municipalities
were shutting schoolhouses again proved fruitful.
The original Haggerty was razed in 1993, and its students assigned
for the duration of the construction to attend classes in leased space
at Notre Dame School in North Cambridge.
The new Haggerty School, designed by architect Michael Rosenfield,
has five levels, containing the latest educational features to meet the
needs of the spectrum of children from the city, opened its doors to
students on September 7, 1995. An “inclusionary school,” a school that
offers tailored programs to students spanning the intellectual and
social spectrum, the Haggerty is considered “state of the art” in
providing basic educational instruction, the latest in technological
teaching, and services to meet the physical, emotional, and academic
needs of a diversified population.
In essence, the new Daniel A. Haggerty School, its students, staff,
faculty and parents provides the core of its mission and motto, “While
Everyone is Different, Everyone Belongs.”
dedication of the new Haggerty School on October 21, 1995 has brought
together people from throughout the city to celebrate a continuation of
the traditions and community spirit that have been woven, shared and
centered at this site for close to a century. The new school is a credit
to the people of Strawberry Hill, the Cambridge School Committee, City
Council, Mayor Kenneth Reeves, City Manager Robert Healy, Superintendent
of Schools Mary Lou McGrath, Principal Joseph Petner, and the multitude
of others who have labored to bring the new Haggerty School to reality.