Shrewsbury High School Crew

Massachusetts Public School Rowing Association Champions (Fall 2019)

86 & 97 Years Old – Still Going Strong!

Press Release: Monday April 3, 2023

This Saturday, April 8th 2023, Shrewsbury Crew, one of the oldest public school rowing programs in the USA, celebrates an historic 86 years of achievement with the unveiling of a newly constructed boathouse ‘Wall of Fame’ plus the naming of two new racing shells, honoring two Shrewsbury, MA families who have been an integral part of the program since its inception in 1937.

Barbara ‘Babs’ Donahue, a sprightly bundle of positivity with an incredible memory for fabulous stories, celebrates her 97th birthday in just a few weeks, and will be a guest of honor at the ceremony. Babs & her late husband Jim, were the driving force behind the building of the Donahue Rowing Center on Lake Quinsigamond, home to Shrewsbury Crew & many other rowing clubs blessed to be based there. The Donahue’s have donated many racing shells and essential equipment to Shrewsbury High School over the decades to ensure its survival. Without their, and the Shrewsbury & Worcester communities’ generosity, the character-defining sport of rowing would only be accessible to wealthy schools with the resources to afford it. Shrewsbury High School is thrilled to recognize their support by naming the 2023 Boys 1V 8+ racing shell, the ‘Jim & Babs Donahue’.

Ken Burns, an avid oarsman and Shrewsbury’s Chief of Police at the time, founded Shrewsbury Crew in 1937. His vision & dedication would lead to National Championship victories for the high school during his epic 45-year tenure as Head Coach, and although he didn’t know it at the time, it was the beginning of a three-generation coaching dynasty for Shrewsbury High School. Ken’s daughter Barbara Burns Caron became the first coach for the girls’ program at Shrewsbury which started in 1975. Barbara was the Head Girls Coach for nearly 20 years, then in 2006, her daughter Pam Krause began a successful decade-long run in the same role. Pam will also be a guest of honor at Saturday’s ceremony, traveling from interstate with her husband Russ (who was the Boys Head Coach 1994-2003) to name our Girls 1V 8+ boat, the ‘Ken Burns’ in her grandfather’s honor.

Adding to the celebratory festivities of Saturday, it gives us great pleasure to also be unveiling the Eagle Scout Project of Jimmy Hess, current Boy’s 1V Crew Member & Life Scout in BSA Troop 114 Shrewsbury. Jimmy, with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers, has crafted an impressive display wall inside the boathouse to exhibit photographs, oars & memorabilia from the long and storied history of SHS

Crew. “This project fuses my two favorite and largest extracurriculars, Scouting and Crew. These communities have given me so much and this project allows me a chance to give back to the one while growing through the other.” says Jimmy. Among its many items, the ’Wall of Fame’ is fortunate to already include the treasured family donations of memorabilia, photographs, eighty-year old newspaper clippings and the original Varsity Letter of National Champion oarsman, Raymond Harlow. Ray was a member of the Shrewsbury High School Boys 1944 crew coached by Ken Burns that not only won the National Championship Title but later progressed to the Olympic Trials. The boys from Shrewsbury raced fabled crews from the University of Washington of ‘The Boys in the Boat’ fame, the film adaptation by Director George Clooney set for release in the Fall. Ray’s daughter Robin, who also rowed at Shrewsbury High School and was coached by Pam Krause, will be attending with her family to see her dads framed exhibit unveiled.

Shrewsbury Crew is built on a foundation of rich traditions and athletic grit in equal measure. Our boys and girls athletes have gone on to become World Champions, NCAA Champions and leaders in society of the highest caliber, each equipped with the lessons of teamwork and camaraderie they learned at high school in a boat. “It’s only half about the rowing”. You are invited to join us as we celebrate the past, present and future of this unique sport at Shrewsbury High School – public school rowing excellence since 1937.

The ceremonies commence at 11:30am and will be attended by Distinguished Guests, Shrewsbury Crew Athletes & Families, Shrewsbury Crew Alumni, Former Coaches, Shrewsbury High School Athletic Director, the General Public & Media.

For additional media enquiries, please contact Shrewsbury Crew Rowing Director & Head Coach, Mitch McManus via email: [email protected] or (978) 831-9190 (m)

Television, Radio & Press VIP Access & Parking at the event can be arranged by contacting Coach Mitch.


When: Saturday April 8th 2023

Time: 11:30am – 12:30pm

Where: DRC (Donahue Rowing Center)

237 North Quinsigamond Ave, Shrewsbury MA

Parking: Parking will be extremely limited around the DRC. There is no spectator parking available on the grounds of the DRC. The state boat ramp carpark is reserved for crew trailers and busses.

A FREE SHUTTLE BUS SERVICE will be running from Shrewsbury High School Upper Car Park to the DRC from 10:30am to 3:30pm for event and regatta guests.

Shrewsbury High School (64 Holden St, Shrewsbury, MA) is a 3 minute drive from the Boathouse or a 10-15 minute walk.

Updated: April 3, 2023 — 11:22 am
Shrewsbury HS Crew © 2023