Hennigan School gets $5K fund from family

HYDE SQ.—The Hennigan Elementary School has received $5,000—intended as the seed of a new foundation—from James Hennigan Jr., son of the longtime Jamaica Plain leader for whom the school is named.

Hennigan held his 85th birthday party on March 10 in West Roxbury and gave a big gift rather than receiving one: a surprise $5,000 check to Hennigan School Principal Maria Cordon.

“The interest of the Hennigan family has always been the right of a child to a great public education,” Hennigan later told the Gazette.

The Hennigan family is one of JP’s oldest and most renowned, with strong involvement in Boston government since the late 1800s. James W. Hennigan, the school’s namesake, was born on the school site at 200 Heath St. and went on to serve as a JP-area state senator and representative.

Hennigan Jr. also served in those offices, and also chaired the Boston School Committee during the enormous controversy over school system desegregation, which he prominently supported.

His daughter, Maura Hennigan, is a JP resident who long served on the Boston City Council is currently the clerk of Suffolk County Superior Court for Criminal Business. And son James Hennigan III, who ran unsuccessfully for the JP-area council seat in 2010, runs the family insurance business, which started in Hyde Square.

Hennigan Jr. got the Hennigan School named for his father years ago and remains closely connected with it, visiting annually to read to students. His birthday celebration was marked by State House and City Council proclamations and was attended by the likes of former Mayor Ray Flynn. But, Hennigan Jr. told the Gazette, he was especially pleased to receive dozens of birthday greetings in the form of drawings by Hennigan School students.

Hennigan Jr. said he will establish a nonprofit foundation so that others can donate to the school as well.

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