By Joan Goodchild, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – One might suspect Pam Krause has a little bit of the freshwater of Lake Quinsigamond running through her veins. The Shrewsbury native and Shrewsbury High School (SHS) Girl's Crew team coach has been involved with competitive rowing most of her life, both watching crew on the sidelines of the lake and coaching for several decades.
The SHS Crew program was founded by Krause's grandfather, Kenneth F. Burns, in 1937 and celebrated its 75th anniversary in September. The team marked the occasion over an entire weekend with several events, including a reception for alumni and friends, crew races, a cookout, and a “learn to row” workshop. The celebration weekend was capped off with the team marching in the Spirit of Shrewsbury parade on Sunday.
Krause said she has been down on the water, getting involved with the team since she was a little girl. When her grandfather, an avid oarsman and world-record holder in rowing, started the crew program, he was the Chief of Police in Shrewsbury, so he used his position in the community to recruit members.
“He started pulling people in that way,” explained Krause, who is also a physical education teacher at SHS. “And if kids got in trouble, he brought them down and put them on the crew.”
Burns coached boys crew until his death in 1982.? Burns daughter, Barbara Burns Caron, became the girls crew coach in 1975 when the program was launched. Krause herself took over for her grandfather at his retirement and was the boys coach until 2005. She now serves as coach for the girl's team. Her husband, Russ Krause, currently serves as the coach for the boys team.
Over the years, Krause said the community has been very supportive of the SHS Crew program. Many local businesses and families, including the Donahues, the Coghlins, the Doyles, the Miners and the late Anthony “Spag” Borgatti have all donated money, boats and equipment over the years. The donations are greatly appreciated as the price tag of rowing is high, said Krause.
“It's an expensive sport to run,” she said “New boats are typically $35,000.”
Krause said the SHS teams have seen national championships over the years and have produced many team members who have gone on to do great things personally and professionally.
“I think because of the skills they develop here and the work that they put in that it helps them rise to top of their professions later on.”
Krause, who first developed her love of crew from her own grandfather, now has two young grandchildren herself.
“They might row too someday,” she laughed. “But they'se got awhile!”