Richard Monastra is of the “baby boom” generation, having been born in 1946 in Philadelphia. He is the eldest of two children. He remains very close to his sister to this day. Mr. Monastra grew up in South Philadelphia in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He describes South Philly at the time as “magical”. He described his neighborhood as being made up of Euro-Americans who settled in South Philly after the Civil War. He attended St. Edmond’s Parochial Elementary School where there were as many as 60 kids in a class. After elementary school, he attended Bishop Neumann High School. While in high school, he worked at a local pharmacy. He graded from Neumann in 1964. Like most of his friends, he applied to La Salle College and was accepted. He majored in history. Like many of his generation, he was the first one on either side of his family to attend college. Mr. Monastra credits the Christian Brothers with exposing students to things their “familial ancestors could only dream of”. He believes that the Brother practiced their moto; Virtus et Sciencia, virtue and knowledge. He feels the Christian Brothers challenged students to question and think critically. Mr. Monastra did his student teaching in South Philadelphia High School and graduated from La Salle in the spring of 1968. Following his graduation from La Salle, he accepted a job at Collingdale High School in Delaware County, PA. He worked there from the fall of 1968 through the spring of 1970. His contract, as well as several others, was not renewed due to budget cuts. He was then hired at Glassboro Middle School in New Jersey where he worked from 1970-1972. He taught 7th & 8th grade U.S. History and Geography. Once again, he was laid off due to budget cuts. After Glassboro, Mr. Monastra obtained employment at Interboro High School where he taught a myriad of courses from 1972 until another lay off in 1983. He was called back to work there until 1985, when he was laid off again. He worked briefly at Haddonfield High School for two years, until he was hired at Buena Regional High School in January of 1989 and worked there until his retirement in 2009. He has taught, and continues to teach, at the county college level.
Monastra, Richard J. and Johnson, Pamela, "Interview of Richard Monastra" (2013). All Oral Histories. 54.
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