When Seattle Academy students think of Rick Dupree, community service comes to mind.
Although Rick grew up close to Franklin High School, he attended Ingram High School across town because of busing programs implemented for school integration. Rick had a good high school experience even though he never got the “neighborhood feeling.” Furthermore, once he finished participating in athletics, he went home, so he was never able to develop those “lifelong relationships.”
After leaving Ingram High School, Rick headed to Florida to attend Florida A&M, a historically black college. Rick earned a full scholarship for his intended major of journalism.
“I looked at four schools and I wanted to go somewhere sunny and somewhere with a good football team. I wasn’t heavily recruited, but I had a few offers; I applied to Baylor, Florida A&M, Notre Dame, and the University of Oklahoma. Florida A&M had a lot of scholarship money, and I got a full (academic) scholarship then walked on the football team. But, I didn’t play a lot,” Rick added before discussing his transfer.
“I got homesick, transferred to UW, and in the spring, I started playing football,” Rick said.
After graduating from UW, Rick started his extensive list of careers. Rick recalls having at least 10 jobs over the course of his lifetime. However, Rick has worked at Seattle Academy for six years, which is the longest he has stayed on a single job in his career.
“I was with the Boys and Girls Club as a director for about 10 years - very cool I love working with kids - great experience. I was a director for player programs for the Sonics and the Storm for four seasons. My first two years I did a lot of traveling with the teams on a charter jet with food on the plane and no customs. I like basketball, so I was there on the floor sitting with the players and watching the games. [Additionally] I was a radio talk show host for years at KJR,” Rick said.
Rick was familiar with Seattle Academy as a parent; his daughter attended the school and graduated in 2007.
Rick stated, “When I worked for Boys and Girls Club, SAAS would interact and use some of the facilities, so I found that I really liked the way SAAS did things. In 2011, Jim Rupp and I had a conversation, and he asked me to talk to Rob. Rob needed someone to run the Senior Project Program. When I got here, I also noticed that no one was running the Community Service Program. So, I wanted to take that on as well.”
Six years later, Rick organizes the senior project program, and tracks and plans community service. Rick has also been on several Seattle Academy trips, his favorite being the New Orleans trip. Additionally, Rick has coached several boys’ basketball teams over the years.
Some of Rick’s hobbies include golfing, especially with his grandson; working out two to three times a week; and acting. Rick mostly acts in community theaters such as the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.
Rick’s has hopes for the future of Seattle Academy.
He wants to continue to improve the senior project program, as it is especially important to prepare students for the real world.
“So many students are coming out of college and the skills that they are getting in education are not translated into the real world,” Rick said.
Additionally, Rick elaborated on his goals as a person of color at Seattle Academy.
“I want to make sure that families of color know about the school [Seattle Academy] and are exposed to it. How do we make more families of color aware [of] this opportunity?”
Rick also works with Rainier Avenue Radio on a radio show called “1 on 1 with Dupe,” which provides a community discussion on sports, race, and social justice.
“We are doing a series on having honest tough conversations on social justice, criminal justice, and social reform,” Rick said.
In addition to hosting his own radio show, Rick serves as the Sports Director and the lead play-by-play announcer for live coverage of high school football and basketball games.
Overall, Rick described himself as a blessed man who is grateful to have had so many meaningful experiences in his life.
Rick has four older brothers and many good mentors who all gave him good advice.
“The best piece of advice is to believe in yourself and give a lot of effort. I’m 55 years old and I’ve never drunk (alchohol) or been drunk because I just love life,” Rick said.