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McKay High School
Class Of 1980

In your SUMMER!              

School name

The school is named after Douglas McKay, who entered politics after establishing himself as a local business and civic leader.

McKay was mayor of Salem and a state senator before becoming Oregon’s governor and then U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

He served four terms in the Oregon Senate, including one after volunteering for service in World War II. He also served in World War I.

McKay became Oregon’s 25th governor in 1948 and was re-elected in 1950. He resigned before his second term was over, to take a position in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Cabinet. McKay was Secretary of the Interior from 1953-56.

He died July 22, 1959, and is interred at Belcrest Memorial Park in South Salem.


The green and blue of the McKay family tartan (woolen plaid cloth) were chosen to be the school colors, with gold for accent.

Students from McKay feeder schools — North Salem and McNary high schools, and Waldo and Whiteaker junior highs — voted on the team name and school colors, according to a newspaper clipping dated Jan. 26, 1979.


The Royal Scots are a tribute to their school namesake, who was proud of his Scottish ancestry.

They fit right in with Salem-Keizer’s other ancient fighting teams, the Vikings (North Salem), Saxons (South Salem), Celtics (McNary) and Olympians (Sprague). The Titans (West Salem) came along later.

School crest

1026SJa4oldmascotThe school crest is patterned after the McKay family coat of arms, with local symbols added such as the state Capitol. Separating the right and left areas of the shield are wavy lines representing the Willamette River. The circle in the center is a medieval symbol for the number 5, with McKay being Salem’s fifth public high school.

Fight song

Words to the fight song have changed a bit during the past 30 years. The most recent rendition hangs on a banner inside McKay’s gym.

We are the mighty Royal Scots,
And we are proud
To wear the name.
Marching on to victory,
We are sure to win this game.
Fearless, bold and brave are we.
We are proud to say,
We’re the blue, green,
Fighting machine,
Fighting for old McKay.


McKay was the fifth high school to be built in Salem-Keizer School District. Construction costs were reported to be $12 million. More than two decades later, it cost $49 million to build West Salem High.

Construction was delayed at McKay, and school started a week late. The locker rooms, football stadium bleachers, gymnasiums and kitchen were not completed when students arrived.

Athletes had to carry practice gear to and from school, change in classrooms and take showers at home after practice.

The football bleachers were not constructed until after the first home game, which McKay played at McNary.

The kitchen was not completed until mid-October. Hot meals had to be shipped to McKay from other schools.

The gym floor still wasn’t finished by late November, so the basketball teams had to practice elsewhere.

Opening doors

North Salem (formerly Salem High School) 1936
South Salem 1954
McNary 1965
Sprague 1972
McKay 1979
West Salem 2002


McKay High School has had four principals in its 30-year history:

1ACynthia Richardson

1ARey Mayoral

1AGuido Caldarazzo




Theresa Lindquist  10/22