Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pam Donahue Retires This Year

Pam Donahue, a physical education, adaptive phy-ed and health teacher at Viking Middle School, will retire from her position this year. But she'll likely end her teaching career the way she started it.

Right out of college-UW-River Falls-Mrs. Donahue started her teaching career by substitute teaching, first at Somerset and later mostly at St. Croix Central, B-W and Glenwood City.

After she retires, Mrs. Donahue plans to continue teaching, at least occasionally, as a substitute teacher.

But she said that "I have other things to do also." She noted that she probably can't read any more than she does now, and plans to continue that. "I'll maybe see the grandchildren more and visit my folks" who are in Illinois.

She also plans to offer her services as a volunteer.

Pam Kruse was born in Chicago, Illinois. She attended grammar school at St. Norbert's in Northbrook, Illinois. While in High School she was on the synchronized swimming club and participated in the synchronized swimming nationals at UW-River Falls. "I decided it was a nice, small school that was good in physical education which was what I was interested in," and that's what brought her to this area.

Her senior year she married Dan Donahue and they lived in Roberts where they were the caretakers at the Division Street Apartments. Later they built their house in which they still reside in the Town of Erin Prairie.

After substitute teaching, Mrs. Donahue was first hired as a long-term substitute at B-W in 1987-88. She was hired part-time in 1989 and from then until 1993 she worked between Greenfield and the High School where she taught health and phy-ed.

In 1993 Pam was hired full time and worked in all three B-W schools. In 1999 she worked only at Viking and Greenfield until 2001 and from then until this year she has only been at Viking Middle School.

In addition to her teaching duties, Mrs. Donahue coached volleyball for 19 years-three at seventh grade and 16 as JV coach. She was assistant track coach for 16 years.

The Donahues have two children. Alison lives in Verona, is married, has a son Max who is a freshman at UW-Milwaukee and is co-owner of Siren Fitness.

Darren is married and has three boys, ages four, two and two months. They live in Wasilla, Alaska and Darren is a pilot for Northern Air Cargo.

Over the years Mrs. Donahue said she has had many interesting experiences. One was this year when a pie throwing contest was about to be held and Mrs. Donahue told a girl with whom she did not see exactly eye-to-eye that the girl better get her pie to throw at me [Mrs. Donahue.] No, the girl replied, I've got a pie for "Mr. [So-and-so] because I hate him more than I hate you."

When Mrs. Donahue taught first grade PE there was a unit about folk dancing. The school used a record player with 78 rpm records. One time when Mrs. Donahue took out the record one little student blurted out "'Wow, that's a big CD.' That shows that technology and times have changed," said Mrs. Donahue.

Mrs. Donahue has gone on several Spanish Club trips over the years and has enjoyed the experiences. This summer she will join the Club on a trip to Spain.

During her years at B-W Mrs. Donahue sponsored the fundraiser that raised money for the roller blades that the school district now owns. She has been involved in a fundraiser for the food pantry. She sponsored a club at Viking that made fleece blankets that have been donated to Grace Place and St. Croix Valley Family Resource Center. Mrs. Donahue led the drive for donations that purchased the climbing wall at Viking without expense to the district. And she has held Friday Family Fun night which is held six Fridays, usually in January and February when the gym is opened to families for various activities.

Mrs. Donahue has also participated in Movin' Schools; Governor's Falls Challenge, Shape Up Wisconsin Kids and a yearly eight to 10 week Staff Wellness program as a member of the district's Wellness Policy Committee.