This post is part of "The Story Behind Hazleton," a senior project completed by Paige Onder, an Immanuel Christian School graduate from the class of 2023.
While many of us say that we cannot draw beyond a stick figure or paint beyond a solid background on a canvas, Mrs. Alice Laputka would challenge your claims. As an art teacher, Mrs. Laputka has worked with not only high school students but adults as well for many years.
Although Alice was born near Philadelphia and attended school near center city, Alice has spent lots of time in a number of different beautiful places. While she currently lives in Pennsylvania for part of the year and Florida during the colder months, she has also spent time in places such as Germany for a year due to her husband being in the military. She even had her son in Germany while her husband was on active duty.
Between high school and her first year of college, she did a tour of Europe. This experience in particular she described as being life changing because it exposed her to many viewpoints and cultures before beginning art school in Philadelphia. In 1972, after her husband completed law school, they came to Hazleton looking to settle down and raise a family.
She would eventually go on to teach at MMI for many years as an art teacher. This is also the school her children attended for many years. Being an art teacher, Mrs. Laputka got to encourage students to be greater than they allow themselves to believe but also got to continue following her dream which was pursuing art.
About two and a half years ago, Alice and her husband decided to sell their home they had lived in for years. During this time they turned an area of her art studio into an apartment that they could retreat to when they come home from Florida.
Today, Alice still teaches art and makes art herself. She has a studio in both Pennsylvania and Florida. While she loves Florida, particularly the warmer weather, something she loves about Hazleton is the supportive community she has seen value her artistic gifts.
One thing that is clear even when just talking with Alice is her kindness that is clear to all. She is patient and is always ready to help people. She is someone whom many describe as being “made to be a teacher” because of these characteristics she continually demonstrates. While Alice has done many different types of art throughout her life, her commitment to her passion and ability to instill this passion in others is not only commendable but inspiring as well.