Mrs. Mendez-Engel makes her mark in LaPorte community

April 22, 2022


LPHS art teacher Kaitlyn Mendez-Engel has worked diligently to make the high school more creative both inside and outside of the classroom.
Engel wasn’t always a Slicer. She is originally from Portage and attended school there. Later on, she attended Indiana University Northwest for graphic design but later switched to art education and completed that in four years.
“I always knew I wanted to do something with art, anything with art, and my high school art teacher during my senior year convinced me to take the leap. My high school teacher actually recommended me for the job here, and I got a really good feeling from the school. So it was my first offer and I took it,” Engel said.
Engel’s interest in teaching was her sister, who was a teacher at Engel’s school when Engel was a junior and senior.
“My sister is 11 years older than me, and she’s a teacher, so just kind of seeing her there and how the students interacted with her sparked something in me,” Engel said.
Engel is involved in school clubs and recently took up a new job helping with the school prom.
“Initially, I was in Student Council, but I ended up ending that at midterm to take on the junior class with Mrs. Lebo. So together we worked on other class-like activities, one of them is prom so that’s kind of been a consuming one for the past few months,” Engel said.
Organizing dances and bigger school events are what Engel likes to do. She is excited to work with Mrs. Lebo and the junior class.
“We picked the theme Golden Gala, and I think it is really unique, and we are definitely picking up some interesting things for this prom. It is a pleasure to work with Mrs. Lebo because we definitely work so well together,” Engel said.
As far as schooling goes, Engel has grown comfortable in the LaPorte community and likes getting involved in the activities we have to offer.
“Mrs. Lebo and I like to do the Sunflower Festival and the Lakeshore Fest with students to kind of show off their artwork. This summer, I’ll actually be bringing stuff that I make in my spare time,” Engel said.
Engel likes to make ceramics and paint earrings. She and her husband have also been thinking of starting a small side business selling ceramics.
“My husband is also an artist, so we do a lot of ceramic work together. We’ve been thinking of taking up ceramic tile making together. It’s in the works but a long way out, but I will still be teaching here,” Engel said.
Other than making ceramics, Engel loves to travel and is passionate about animal rescue.
“I have five rescue pets right now. Some are strays, some we foster, and others were just harder to give away, and we adopted them in the end,” Engel said.
Engel has two cats she found on the streets, a bearded dragon from a not so good situation, and two more cats they got from a rescue.
“Sometimes, we foster with the independent cat society in Michiana, so we have lots of pets coming in and out,” Engel said.
Whether in the classroom, at extracurriculars, or out in the community, Engel is leaving her mark in LaPorte.

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