Alita Lutrick dedicated to teaching students about art

Alita Lutrick found her calling in life in an art class at Smylie Wilson Junior High School, as it was then known.

“I had the best art teacher. … That class had such an impact on my life, I knew I wanted to make an impact on someone’s life, too,” said Lutrick, who is now wrapping up her first year as a seventh- and eighth-grade art teacher at Frenship Middle School.

After that course, Lutrick said she took every art class she could while at Coronado High School, and entered Texas Tech to seek a bachelor of arts degree in art education with an emphasis in painting.

As a college student, she returned to the classroom where she had first fell in love with art, and watched her former instructor, John Gray, as he taught his young students. She said that although she enjoyed his class as a student, it wasn’t until she studied about classrooms in college that she realized his teaching methods.

“I didn’t realize how well-managed his classroom was until I studied that in college,” she said.

Now she is dedicated to teaching her students the basics of drawing, design and art elements.

“I really feel like you can’t make a sculpture or paint a painting” without a strong background in basics such as drawing, Lutrick said.

As a new teacher, she is in Frenship’s first-year teacher program. She said the year has been “really good.”

“There’s a lot more paperwork and behind-the-scenes teacher work than I ever dreamed of,” she said. “But people have been friendlier and more helpful than I ever dreamed.”

More experienced teachers have stopped by her room frequently to see if she is adjusting or to offer help, she said. A few have even added to her impressive collection of rubber ducks, which lines the top of the cabinets in her classroom.

She started the collection as a senior at Coronado as part of an art project in which she had to choose an object to focus upon.

“I ended up collecting a lot of ducks that year. I just couldn’t let them go,” said Lutrick. At the beginning of each semester, she said students in every class ask about the ducks, and she also uses them to help teach art.

Lutrick also likes to work in other lessons with her art instruction. During the first few weeks of school, she asked students to illustrate a postcard, and write a few sentences on the back of it to a friend at home about their summer vacation.

“I try to do little bits here and there, to sneak (lessons from other classes) in,” she said.

Not only is Lutrick new to teaching, she’s also newly married to her husband, Landon Lutrick.

“It’s been a busy year: newlywed, first-year teacher. There’s been a lot going on,” she said.

Lutrick said her hobbies include quilting, sewing, shopping and, of course, art.

“I really enjoy the process,” she said, adding that she likes starting with nothing and creating something with her own hands. Her favorite form of art is painting, she said.

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