Students To Learn ‘In the Shay Way’

Tuesday August 29, 2023

Amesbury School Superintendent Elizabeth McAndrews and state Sen. Barry Feingold cut the ribbon in a crowd at the Shay Memorial Lower Elementary School. Photo by Stewart Lytle

AMESBURY — In a “just in case letter,” Amesbury High School graduate Sgt. Jordan Shay asked that his family and friends to create a scholarship fund for students who “want to make a difference in the world.”
After his battlefield death 30 miles north of Baghdad during his second deployment in 2009, his family, fiancé and friends followed his wishes. The scholarship they created, has now awarded more than $250,000 in grants for innovative teachers, scholarships for Amesbury High graduates and donations to veterans organizations in Amesbury, Merrimac, Newburyport, Salisbury and West Newbury.
Last week “his legacy continued to shine” as current and former city leaders, state officials and school leaders cut the ribbon and hosted an open house for a new school named for him. It will honor his wish to educate and inspire children in what principal James Montanari said will be “In the Shay Way.”
The Sgt. Jordan Shay Memorial Lower Elementary School at 193 Lions Mouth Rd. opens this fall to classes of students from pre-kindergarten to second grade. The older students will come from Cashman Elementary and Amesbury Elementary schools.
Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove said Shay Elementary, the first new school in Amesbury in 50 years, “could not have happened without the coordinated efforts of city officials, school administration, the school building committee, and the commitment and support of the community.”
The School Committee voted in 2020 to name the school after Shay, who graduated from Amesbury High School in 2005. He joined the Army a year later and was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, the National Defense medal, Iraq Campaign and Global War on Terror medals.
He planned a life of service when he left the Army, joining the Massachusetts State Troopers.
“Jordan was so much more than a soldier,” his mother, Holly, told the crowd of parents, teachers and students.
The Shay Foundation website describes him as “a witty, kind and intelligent young man. He was also very loyal and cared deeply for his family, friends and every dog he met. From a young age, Jordan enjoyed reading and was a prolific writer. He was also an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed climbing mountains, hiking in the woods, sailing and diving. He was proud to be a ‘Parrothead’ and attended every Jimmy Buffet concert he could.”
Jordan was also an enthusiastic Red Sox fan. “The memory of his tattered Red Sox cap that accompanied him on his endless pursuits to live life to the fullest will be forever etched in our memories,” the website states.
His mother said his death caused heartache for many, including his fiancé, Kelsey Chandonnet Mahoney, who serves as vice president of the foundation. “He continues to be a spark in my life. He was and is my heart,” Holly Shay said.
The Shay Lower Elementary School, built by the CTA Construction Co. of Waltham, has three floors, including a lower floor for the cafeteria. The first floor has a gymnasium and classrooms for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. The first and second graders will be upstairs.
Financed with the assistance of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the building has brick and glass walls that make the building interior airy and bright. Its style is similar to its neighbor, the Cashman Elementary School, which will host the third through fifth grades.
The design from the walls to the furniture will help stimulate the development of young learners, Superintendent Elizabeth Andrews said. It is colorful and inviting and features a tribute to the young soldier.
Those who knew Sgt. Shay said he would be pleased with the school that bears his name.

Support Local Businesses

Priced Right Junk Removal

Local Forecast

Subscribe To Receive Our Newspaper Every Wednesday Morning FREE

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and newspaper within your emails.

You have Successfully Subscribed!