Being a French teacher at Kennedy for thirty years, Mrs. Denise Dupre, commonly referred to as Madame Dupre, is well known by many students; however, despite this, many are not aware of the numerous and one-of-a-kind adventures that she has endeavored in the past years.
Madame Dupre recently turned 61 years old and has taken students on a number of trips to Europe. She goes every summer with a small group of Kennedy students. Madame Dupre has visited many countries. The first year that she took students on a trip to Europe was in 1984 during the spring vacation, her second year teaching at Kennedy. Madame Dupre also went to Europe with students a second time that year in the summer, and it has been the only time in her career that she has ever taken students twice in one year’s time. She states, “The students were so excited. They had never been outside of the country. For many it was the first time that they had ever left L.A.County.”
Madame has had a great deal of memories from the many trips that she has been on. Her fondest memory from that first year took place on the trip in the summer. Madame Dupre and her students went to Normandy. There they visited the D-Day Cemetery where the bodies of American soldiers rest. “The students were so touched and honored to be there.” Madame went on to say that they were surprised at the fact that the American soldiers were very young, mostly around eighteen years old.
Many times the students didn’t want to leave France when it came time to go home. Madame believes that the trip may have changed their lives since it opened their eyes to what traveling could be like. Madame has taken students ever since that first trip and has made it tradition to do so. She decided to make it a tradition because “…the students loved it so much and they were always so excited.”
Many students came back with a different perspective of traveling. Madame claimed that “…they [the students] told me they couldn’t wait to get started on college and study abroad” so that they would take the opportunity of traveling more. The students gained the knowledge of what it was like to be able to go to different countries.
Every trip that Madame takes to Europe is unique and none of them are alike in every way. “I try to go to different towns in the countries we go to, and I try to make it so that each class of students gets to have different experiences.”
Traveling internationally was the one thing that Madame believed was going to be a part of her life. Her first time traveling internationally was when she was fourteen years old. Her mother took her and her sister to Europe for three weeks. Madame recalls that the trip allowed “…to see all of the different places and especially to hear the different languages. It opened doors to my future.” She wanted to know what the people were saying, and that is what motivated her to become a linguist.
She remembers enjoying every moment of that trip and cherishes the memories. She loved the beauty of the foreign countries and every aspect of them. In high school, Madame had the opportunity to go on a student tour to Europe. She was a senior at the time and remembers that they went to Rome. This motivated her to study languages, and at UCLA she received the Bilingual Certificate of Competence (BCC).
She received her job at Kennedy in 1983 after an interview with Principal James Ball, who hired Madame Dupre that same day. Her overall experience here at Kennedy “…has been extremely rewarding and as a Chinese quote states, ‘Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ That is exactly how I feel.”
Madame truly believes that she has lived her life to the fullest. Her numerous experiences that she has had are mostly due to all of the traveling. The many adventures often have her reflect back on them and think of how fun it was. “I wouldn’t take any of them back for a second.”
She has gone on various trips to countries outside the U.S. and informs that she has learned a great deal from her travels. She has learned never to take life for granted and to be grateful for all of the opportunities in life. She still would love to go to Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, South America, and Indonesia. Madame Dupre is a caring teacher and a traveling fanatic.