We are honored to give the Lion’s Pride Award for June 2017 to Mr. Dick Rapson, who taught in Lower Moreland for 43 years and continues to be a coach for us.
We honor him, not just for the number of years, but for what he gave to the District. He gave—and continues to give—passion, dedication, caring, and an example of life-long learning to our students. We are grateful to his wife, Lois, children Dana and Doug, and his grandchildren for allowing us to spend so much time with this great man.
One of Dr. Feeley's first memories of Coach Rapson was on the stage for the High School’s production of Grease. He also had a turn in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum and Footloose. When she asked him recently if he was fulfilling a childhood dream with his acting, he said was actually trying to connect with another segment of his students whom he might not get to interact with on the field. As he said, “our responsibility to the kids goes beyond the 7 ½ hours of the school day.” He gave up many hours of his own time for rehearsals and stepped outside his personal comfort zone by singing and dancing just to make a connection to those students who might not know him as “Coach.”
And the bond he made with students is strong and long-lasting. At our recent Hall of Fame dinner, many of our inductees shared memories of Coach Rapson and what an impact he had on their time here. I am so thankful that some of students still get to interact with him today as he continues to act as an Assistant Coach. He continues to sneak in biology lessons in his interactions with the athletes by sharing with them, for instance, the importance of hydration to keeping their athletic performance at peak level.
He is also instrumental in getting alumni involved in making donations for the six Extra Mile Awards of $1,500 each that are given out at Seniors Award Night. Christina Negron, a Lower Moreland graduate is married to Amby Burfoot, the 1968 Boston Marathon winner. Each scholarship winner gets a personally signed copy of Mr. Burfoot’s book, The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life. These are the sort of amazing connections and opportunities that Dick Rapson brings to Lower Moreland and to his students.
The story of Dick’s life and his career path is full of these connections and making the most of the opportunities presented to him. He went to college at Bloomsburg thinking he would become a social studies teacher, but he met people during his time there who got him interested in life sciences.
Then during college, the Soviet Union sent up Sputnik which led to Congress authoring grants for science education. Taking advantage of such a grant, he went to Purdue to get a Master’s in Biology and later on, he took advantage of another grant to study genetic engineering at Haverford.
His passion for learning, for running, for his family and his adopted Lower Moreland family has kept the sparkle in his eye and the wind at his back all these years.