Posted May. 4, 2021
Name: Robert Mainella
Hometown: I was born in Montréal.
Where did you attend school?
I did my high school years at St.Pius X Comprehensive High School. Many of my profs were Christian Brothers. We referred to them as Bro.
I attended Dawson College for two years after graduating from high school then went on to McGill University where I received my Bachelor of Music degree and my Diploma of Education.
Which years did you teach at Immaculata? Which subjects?
I taught at Immaculata from 1984 to 2015 with a five year interruption during which time I had the pleasure of being with my two young sons, Thomas and Adam. At Immaculata I taught Band, French, Socials and a few other subjects too long ago to recall.
Why did you choose to work at Immaculata?
I chose to work at Immaculata because I had the great opportunity to start a band program from scratch. I owe all my wonderful years at Immaculata to the vision and support of Fr. Brian Sweeney who denied me nothing in order to get the band program off the ground and running. I hope I was able to fulfill his dream.
What about Immaculata are you most proud of?
Firstly, I am proud that I had a part in the 60 years that Immaculata has been active. Many times over the years it seemed as if we were on the verge of not having a school but with the support of all involved; be it parents, students, administration, and the churches we managed to keep going and will continue to go on.
Secondly, I feel a church is not just the building it is those who are in it. So Immaculata is not just a building it too is the people who go in and out of its doors on a daily basis. People make all the difference. I am very proud of the people in Immaculata.
What did you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoyed getting music and students ready for concerts and band trips. They made all the work worthwhile. I hope the students felt the same as I did. I also enjoyed the energizing “chats” with staff and students be they at the start or the end of the day. They were very affirming to me.
What are some of your favourite memories of your time at Immaculata?
My favorite memories of my years at Immaculata had to be the band trips and seeing Immaculata in the rear view mirror on the bus. These trips taught me that no matter how well prepared you are there will always be some surprises lurking around the next bend. They forced you to think fast and smart. On one occasion, as we were unloading the bus in preparation for a performance, a student who played the trumpet but was playing a solo piece on the baritone approached me and asked “Dude, where’s my baritone?” Like I said think fast and smart.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned from a student?
In my young years I thought I would practice some rigor. I gave my English 10 class a Christmas break assignment where they were to compose a series of poems in differing styles. It was quite a comprehensive assignment. However after the Christmas break I was approached by a student and his father .The nature of the discussion was that the father worked in the field on long stretches and was looking forward to spending time with his son. However his son had to complete this assignment cutting into their time together. It was made clear to me at that moment that there is life outside of school and there is life outside of work.
After Immaculata, where has life taken you? What are you up to now?
In my retirement years I have started volunteering, gardening, beekeeping, and spending more time with my wife. What more could a person ask?
What advice could you share with current Immaculata students?
Be grateful for all the blessings you have; friends, parents, teachers, and bosses. But be grateful for those more trying times and people these too have a fundamental way of shaping who you are.
Who are the most important people in your life?
The most important people in my life are my wife, Lynda, and my sons Thomas and Adam.