New crew shell honors spirit of generosity & gratitude

Babs Donahue donated a beautiful boat to the SJ Crew team named after "her boys."

Alongside Lake Quinsigamond at the Donahue Rowing Center on September 7, 2016, Mrs. Barbara "Babs" Donahue christened the Saint John's Crew team's newest shell.

Flanked by the three young men who she met through her scholarship, Babs spoke of her love for them, and her pride in watching them grow from quiet boys into talented, caring men. To honor them, she named the shell My Boys - Sam, Zach, Dion. Babs has supported three Saint John's students - Sam Barclays '07Zach Kent '14, and Dion Holden '18, and is proud to be "another grandmother" to them. 

A longtime friend and supporter of Saint John's, Babs donated the Dare to Dream shell in 2011 in memory of her husband Jim, whose passion for rowing inspired her to give back in this special way. Babs has devoted her life to supporting local organizations, as a consistent benefactor for crew, hospitals, public services, and schools. This is the fourth shell the Donahues have donated to Saint John’s, following the Babs and Jim DonahueBabs and Jim Donahue II, and the Dare to Dream.

Athletic Director Pat White offered his strong feelings of gratitude to Babs and encouraged the athletes present to make note of her dedication and spirit of sacrifice. Headmaster Alex Zequeira spoke of the ways that generosity and gratitude manifested in this special day, from Babs' unwavering commitment to supporting her boys, crew, and Saint John's, to gratitude of all those gathered - athletes, coaches, and families - for the sense of unity and camaraderie inherent in the sport. A sport built around harmony, crew truly is a family, and that was no more evident than in the feeling of excitement and warmth radiating around Babs and her new shell.

Mr. Zequeira announced that Babs' generosity was truly inspiring, and prompted alumni to commit with the school to raise funds for another shell, which will be in the water by next fall. Interim Head Coaches Greg Kostiw and Nick Guida unveiled the My Boys shell and Brother Paul Feeney, C.F.X. offered a formal blessing.

Babs then introduced the meaning behind her special dedication, and introduced Sam, Zach, and Dion to the crowd of rowers, coaches, faculty, and current and past crew parents. Former rower Zach then hopped into the shell with the current team, and they placed the shell into the water for its first trip.

See more pictures from the crew shell christening.

Dedication of "My Boys" Crew Shell