On the surface, Gene Alber, Boston Middle School’s ISS/Project Ed teacher, seems like a normal teacher, but there is more to Alber than what meets the eye.
Born in Logansport, Indiana, Alber was one of two in his household. Growing up, he had plenty of friends, was active in school, athletics, and he was a yearbook photographer.
He worked hard and was quite successful in school; his next stop was college, but it did not pan out exactly as planned, as he found a new path to take while working towards his degree.
During his second year in college, Alber decided to drop out. He was walking to the post office the shortly after and came across one of the recruiters for the Army. The Army guy was eating lunch at a desk, so Alber signed up.
Being in the Army changed Alber’s view on his life. Traveling all around the world opens one’s eyes to the different opportunities and cultures. He set foot in Germany, France, England, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Switzerland.
“I was stationed in Germany during the Cold War, Vietnam was just starting up when I was in. My most memorable experience in the Army was border duty near Fulda Gap in Germany,” Alber said.
After the Army, Alber returned to Indiana State University, which was called Indiana State Teacher’s School at the time. He pursued a degree in secondary education as a history/sociology/geography teacher. He got his Masters in Administration and through his 50 years in education, he has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, athletic director, tennis and football coach. He has filled those positions in Michigan City Area schools, Tulsa Public schools, Northside Independent School District San Antonio, Victory Christian School, and he is now a Project Ed teacher at Boston Middle School.
Besides his vast experience in education, Alber has many other interests. If there is one thing everybody knows about Alber, it is his never ending love for sharks. While attending Indiana State, Alber’s freshman English class had to write a 2000 word paper. They were required to draw out a topic, and Alber drew a shark. Their library, at the time, had three books on sharks, and two of them were missing, so Alber traveled to Indianapolis to do his research. Ever since that day, he became so fascinated with sharks. In 2008, on Christmas break he was able to swim with the sharks in South Africa.
“I went to South Africa where a nephew of mine lives along the coast and went to Gansbaai (most of Shark Week segments come from this location-Seal Island is in this bay) and went out on the boat Megalodon II for two days of cage diving. It was a lifelong dream of 40 years to be inches away from one of God’s most magnificent creatures,” Alber said.
Many seniors from LPHS, could never forget Mr. Alber and his amazing teaching. He started teaching at Boston because 8th grade science teacher, Mrs. Glanz was going on her maternity leave. He had these students for a splendid 13 weeks and enjoyed working with the kids.
“My favorite thing about Mr. A was his passion for learning. He really wanted us to learn the material and understand what he was teaching. He was always so encouraging; I admired that about him,” Karina Del Real, former student, LPHS senior, said.
Alber plans on working one more year to close out Boston, then hoping to work in the new school for a year. That year he will be turning 75 and wants to finally be at peace with retirement.
There is little doubt that his decades in education have left indelible marks on countless students and co-workers. Alber is one-in-a-million.