A senior from Wakefield who spends time at both forward and defense, Amanda Donahoe is one of the captains on the hockey team at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, along with Jillian Witwicki of Danvers and the Pingree School. Donahoe played soccer, lacrosse, and hockey at St. Mary’s in Lynn and was a captain in all three sports. At St. Michael’s, she’s president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is active with Hope Happens Here, a campus organization dedicated to promoting mental health awareness among students, particularly student-athletes. Donahoe is majoring in psychology with a minor in elementary education. Her hockey team, 2-10 at the Christmas break, hopes to rebound in the season’s second half.
Q. What’s your best high school athletics’ memory?
A. I would probably say when we won the Division 1 state championship in hockey my junior year. We beat Arlington Catholic in Boston Garden. It was a good feeling to win there. The previous year we had lost there. Losing in general is tough and when you lose in the TD Garden it really sticks with you.
Q. What can you tell me about your teammate and fellow captain Jillian Witwicki?
A. I played with Jill with the Middlesex Islanders, and we’re roommates and friends. It’s been real interesting and nice to see her personal development and watch her grow. When you’re with the Islanders you’re never guaranteed you’re going to play college hockey, and for both of us to earn the opportunity and get to do it together is real cool.
Q. Are there added challenges to being a captain when wins can be hard to come by?
A. One of our goals for this season was to keep the page blank and have everyone know this was going to be a new team. Currently we’re not winning, but this has been one of the best seasons for developing we’ve seen. We have 13 freshmen and we graduated 13 seniors. It was basically a completely new team. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We had to make sure everyone felt welcome and I think that’s worked out. We try to do as much as possible together as a team and try to do a lot of community service and have team dinners. We have seniors in a sense being mentors to first-year players.
Q. What are your plans for after graduation next spring?
A. Actually, I just finished applying to graduate schools. They’re all in Massachusetts. I’d like to spend time closer to family, especially my parents and grandparents. I think living at home would be easier. Right now I have an internship at the University of Vermont Medical Center and work with both pediatric and geriatric patients. I’m aiming for a future masters degree in clinical mental health counseling with a focus in sports psychology. I think it’s always been an interest of mine to help people in general.
Q. Do you work on similar subjects as president of SAAC?
A. One of my goals is to get a video made to promote mental health awareness. That’s one big goal we’re trying to accomplish with Hope Happens Here. The organization became a nonprofit at St. Michael’s last summer. We’ve done videos in the past but never one for mental health awareness. It’s tied into my interests. The idea is to let everyone know it’s OK to not be OK. There’s help for you. It’s any type of mental health. It’s as simple as feeling stress and feeling like you have to have that “quote” – toughness – “unquote” that student-athletes are supposed to have.Allen Lessels can be reached at email@example.com.