by Kelly Rogge
Looking back on his time at Kansas City Kansas Community College, Tim Dupree is thankful. In fact, he believes that given the chance, everyone should start their post-secondary academic careers at a community college.
“I believe that I could have left here and gone directly to Washburn (University),” said the now lawyer based in Kansas City, Kan. “KCKCC prepared me for law school better, I think, than KU. The professors here were very engaging with the students. They wanted us to learn and were invested in our education. They were willing to change the syllabus to fit the class.”
Dupree returned to KCKCC earlier this month to speak to Ewa Unoke’s American Government class. A lifelong resident of Wyandotte County, Dupree received an associate’s degree from KCKCC in 1999. He went on to graduate in 2001 from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and continued his education at the Washburn University School of Law. He earned a Juris Doctorate in 2003, and in 2008, returned to Wyandotte County when he founded the Law Office of Timothy L. Dupree, P.A. He also currently serves as a Wyandotte County District Judge Pro Tem and is a candidate for Wyandotte County District Court Judge. The primary election is Aug. 5.
“I love coming back to speak to the students,” Dupree said. “I look at them and think about how it wasn’t all that long ago when I was sitting where they are now. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be here in this capacity speaking to students. It is a pretty great feeling.”
Unoke said he likes to bring in guest speakers throughout the year to help students connect what they are learning in class with real life. Because Dupree is currently running for office, he said it was a good opportunity to show students how the political election system works.
“It fits in so well with what we were learning in class,” he said. “I am also calling on the other people running (for Wyandotte County District Court Judge). It gives students an opportunity to listen to the theory and see it in practical experience.”
Unoke said having a past graduate come back to speak with current students is also a way to provide inspiration and show them what hard work and dedication can accomplish.
“When you bring back past graduates, it inspires students to think of their own lives,” he said. “They realize that they too can make it by seeing someone that was once like themselves.”
Dupree said he believes his education at KCKCC helped him to become the successful lawyer and candidate for county judge that he is today.
“There was a lot of accountability here. You had to be in class on time and do the work or you would be put on the spot the next day,” he said with a smile. “A lot of individuals come out of high school, and they don’t see their truest potential. They don’t realize what they can do. I believe KCKCC helps you to see that potential.”
by Kelly Rogge