Josiah Quincy Elementary School celebrates 170 years

The Josiah Quincy Elementary School celebrated 170 years on June 8 at the China Pearl. Former principal Bak Fun Wong (standing left), Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan, Kate Chang (seated left) and principal Cynthia Soo Hoo are all smiles. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

The Josiah Quincy Elementary School celebrated 170 years in the community on June 8 at the China Pearl with about 450 guests.

Principal Cynthia Soo Hoo said, “I could not be more excited and happy to be part of this community. We are here celebrating a 170-year legacy. I’m proud the Quincy School continues to serve immigrants.”

A short film about the school by Loose Canon and Scribe & Co. was screened.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a prepared statement, “The passion and commitment of our students, faculty and staff are evident every time I visit JQS. Whether it’s for a Chinese New Year celebration or for another school visit, I continue to be impressed with this school and its energy.”

The school opened in 1847 as the Quincy Grammar School, the first American school to separate pupils by grade, rather than have all students in a large room, along with being the first to give each student their own desk. It moved to its current site at 885 Washington Street in 1976, built as a community center housing a clinic for South Cove Community Health Center and recreational space for Boston Centers for Youth & Families Quincy Community Center. The school space is also used by Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s after school program Red Oak, as well as the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church for Sunday services, making the school open to the Chinatown community seven days a week.

Former principals Bak Fun Wong and Suzanne Lee attended the gala. Boston 25 anchor Daniel Miller hosted the event.

The K-5 school has 863 students, and is a Level 1 high-performing school. For more information, visit

Students performed a lion dance. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.

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About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England

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