By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
For the past 26 years, Pat Mastel has been at St. Joseph’s School as an Administrative Assistant and as a Kindergarten school aid for special needs kids — but she has been much, much more than just an employee at the Coaldale school.
Since 1989, Mastel has provided the school with endless hours of support and love. She started out at the school, while her own kids were growing up and attending St. Joseph’s.
“I ended up being the person who helped the speech pathologist,” said Mastel, adding she then left to obtain administrative training and started in her current position shortly thereafter.
When Pat, her husband Stan (who also works at the school) and her family moved to Coaldale back in 1983, the husband and wife team went on strolls through town and near St. Joseph’s School and they always said to one another, “One of these days we’re going to work at that school. And, we both are,” she noted.
“I’ve been in the office for a long time,” she added.
Mastel is the go-to person at St. Joseph’s — she co-ordinates the student database, finances (under the supervision of the principal) and puts together student awards — just to name a few of her many duties.
Pat and Stan even consider St. Joseph’s School their home away from home.
“When they built this school they should have built a suite on the roof for Stan and I because if we’re not here for school functions — St. Ambrose Church, who we belong to, uses the school for a lot of functions,” she joked.
Pat is also involved with the music ministry both at the school and at the church.
“I co-ordinate music for every Thursday mass plus once a month the kids do all of the ministries at St. Ambrose — the kids from St. Joseph’s School. Lots of music.”
Pat and Stan are also involved in the process of putting on retreats, which features music, of course.
Pat plays guitar and has always been interested in playing music since she was a young girl.
“My dad was one that believed you weren’t a musician unless you could play by ear. I never had any music instruction. I learned how to play the organ on my own. I learned how to play guitar with two lessons from the girl that Stan bought my guitar from, my second-hand guitar. I just had a strong desire to learn how to play guitar, watching other people play,” said Mastel.
As for volunteering for extracurricular activities after school, Pat said she doesn’t actually have outside of school hours. “I am here all the time.”
From evening band concerts to grad ceremonies, Pat and Stan are lending a helping hand.
“These jobs that we have, for both Stan and I, are much more than a paycheque. They’re a vocation. Our slogan, ‘We are family’ — that’s real for us. The kids are our kids. The staff are our kids. Stan and I are the oldest, chronologically, in the building. We’re just passionate about that and that we have the ability to share our faith in this place we call work.”