Mr. Donahue adds passion and compassion to math

Mr. Donahue adds passion and compassion to math

Math teacher paul Donahue stands in front of his Algebra 2 class doing what appears to be lecturing. However, the students are smiling and laughing.

Not only is Mr. Donahue able to teach difficult concepts well, he is also able to capture his students’ attention, helping them to understand the curriculum while instilling trust and fairness.

Mr. Donahue has been a math teacher at DHS for 22 years. He has seen the school through multiple administrations, failed plans, and celebrations. Over these years, he has taught several classes such as Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Advanced Quantitative Reasoning, and even Freshman Seminar.

No matter what he’s teaching, however, he is always able to get the point across to motivate his students.

“He understands if students are having trouble learning, or if they are tired,” said junior Shawn DaSilva. “He’ll go slower or easier so that the kids understand it better.”

Mr. Donahue’s main goal when in front of the classroom is to help his students understand the material and to do their best. He wants to ensure their readiness and preparedness when it comes time for testing.

“It’s not about spewing out information,” said Mr. Donahue. “It’s more than           that.”

Mr. Donahue wants students to know that he takes his job seriously, and his number one concern is his students. He’s going to be fair, but they need to do their part, too.

Mr. Donahue himself knows what hard work means, and he doesn’t forget what it was like to be a student. When he graduated from college, he worked as a laborer and soon realized that he wanted to be a teacher, particularly due to the influence from his dad.

“My father always told me when I was young to go into education, but I never wanted to,” said Mr. Donahue.

His father Harry Donahue was a teacher and a principal at Somerset Middle School. An article written for The Standard-Times by George Austin reflecting on the passing of Harry Donahue stated, “Despite his gruff exterior, Harry Donahue loved the students in the schools where he taught and administered as a principal and would go out of his way to help them.”

Mr. Donahue learned everything about doing the right thing and being fair from his father. It is easy to see how he is such a remarkable teacher today.

“He made me the man I am today just by setting the right example all along,” said Mr. Donahue.

Mr. Donahue earned his high school diploma from Bridgewater-Raynham High School where he played basketball and baseball. He received his degree in teaching from UMass Dartmouth. Mr. Donahue was also a baseball coach here at DHS for several years. To this day, you can ask any one of Mr. Donahue’s students if they’ve ever heard one of his baseball stories, and the answer will always be, “Yes.”

In his free time, Mr. Donahue enjoys fishing and spending time with his family. “If I’m not working, I’m with my family,” said Mr. Donahue.

He is married to Potter School Physical Education teacher Jodi Donahue. They have three children: a five-year-old son, Chase, and two-year-old twin daughters, Rylie and Reece. Mr. Donahue wishes to be the father that his father once was. He wants to set a good example for his children.

Mr. Donahue’s compassionate, yet somewhat stern and motivating attitude, has allowed him to lead students to success. “It’s all about you guys,” he said. “You can’t just look at the kids as kids that sit in your class. If I could be that one teacher that makes a difference for one or two kids – that’s my goal.”

Even past students remember Mr. Donahue’s lasting impression. “Math is never anyone’s favorite,” said DHS alumnus Paul Winterhalter, “and he knew that. He had a way with the subject matter that really took into consideration his students. There was never a dull moment in any of his class sessions.”

By helping and supporting his students and through establishing morals and values in his classroom and not just regurgitating the curriculum, he motivates students to do their best not only in school, but in life. He won’t just give you a grade you don’t deserve, but he’ll make you want to work for it for all the right reasons.

“To me, personally, as a student who was never the best with math,” said Winterhalter, “having him as a teacher honestly made a difference in my high school experience.”