2017 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

District Attorney Mark A. Dupree, Sr.

Mark DupreeWyandotte High School, 2000

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Vance Elementary, Coronado Middle

During his sophomore year at Wyandotte High School, Mark A. Dupree, Sr. was given an opportunity to job shadow someone at the Wyandotte County Courthouse.  He went into the courtroom that day not knowing what to expect. Describing that day, he said, “The bailiff asked everyone to rise. It was then that I saw walking through the doors an African-American man with a short afro and a black robe.” Dupree had never seen an African-American judge or lawyer before. In fact, because he was so stunned by what he was seeing for the first time, he did not hear the bailiff tell everyone to be seated. 

That day was a life-changing moment for him. “That day changed the trajectory of where my career was going,” he said. 

The person presiding over court that day who had Dupree speechless and staring in amazement was the late Honorable District Court Judge Cordell Meeks, Jr. That day marked another first for a young Dupree. It was the beginning of a mentor-mentee relationship that would last seven years, only to be cut short by the death of Judge Meeks. 

Today, Dupree is the first African-American elected district attorney in the state of Kansas, a position he has held since 2017. He is also the third person to ever serve as the district attorney in Wyandotte County since the inception of the position in 1971.

He and his staff of 62 attorneys, trial assistants, investigators and victim advocates are located in the District Courthouse of Wyandotte County. They are responsible for the safety and protection of the citizens of the Wyandotte County community. 

Prior to serving as the district attorney, he worked in private practice at Dupree & Dupree Attorneys at Law, a firm he owned with his wife, Shanelle.  Since he became the district attorney, his wife handles the law firm, which has been renamed Dupree Family Law.   

Dupree, the youngest of six, has lived most of his life in Kansas City, Kansas, where he is an associate pastor at Grace Tabernacle Family Life Outreach Center.  His parents were pastor and co-pastor of the church. One of his most rewarding ministries in the church is feeding the hungry and driving the church bus to pick up the homeless to attend services at the church. 

Dupree credits his mother and father, Linda and Alvin Dupree, with his spiritual upbringing and strong work ethic. One of his favorite sayings is from his mother: “Wherever you go and no matter how hard it gets; remember you are too blessed to be stressed.”

He is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in political science, a minor in leadership studies, and a juris doctorate degree from Washburn University School of Law. 

Dupree and his wife, Shanelle, are the proud parents of eight-year-old Layla; seven-year-old Mark Dupree II; six-year-old Lilly; and four-year-old Micah. 

The best advice he would give to a student: “Be persistent; stay prayerful and never let anyone stop you from pursuing your dream.”