MY LIFE STORY
Today we bid hasta la vista as we celebrate the life of Laurence F. “KIKO” Dempster.
Laurence Fernandez Dempster was the only child born to proud Hispanic parents, Laurence S. Dempster, and Myra (Hassell) Dempster, both deceased. He arrived on the island of Manhattan, in New York City on Thursday, May 27, 1948. As an infant, his mother, Myra, gave him the nickname KIKO as an endearment which remained his moniker for the rest of his life. Later, his parents relocated to the West Philly section of Philadelphia, PA when KIKO was a child.
As a child, KIKO attended St. Carthage Catholic School and it was there that he met and formed a lifelong friendship that evolved into a brotherhood with Raymond P. Lassiter, deceased. After elementary school KIKO attended and graduated from West Catholic High School for Boys.
As a young teenager KIKO excelled at winning several spelling bee contests which afforded him the envious opportunity of traveling to Mexico where he competed in their spelling bee competitions.
KIKO was a strong advocate of higher education for himself as well as for others. He started many programs which are still in effect within the Philadelphia Public School System. He shared his unrelenting passion for learning with thousands of children and adults over five decades.
Continuing his quest for learning he graduated from Cheyney State College where he received his Bachelor of Science in Education. From there he received his Master of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa. Not one to rest on his laurels he enhanced his educational prowess by earning a Principalship Certificate from New Jersey as well as a Philadelphia Principal and Superintendent Certificate.
Upon entering the work force KIKO, worked for the Philadelphia Public School System as a substitute teacher. He was also a Spanish teacher at Wayne Aspinall Junior High School in St. Thomas, for the United States Virgin Islands Public School System. For his alma mater, Cheyney, KIKO was especially proud to have served in the capacity of Dean and Acting Vice President for twenty years. KIKO then turned his talents to The Vanguard School where he was an In-School Suspension/Crisis Intervention Manager and Lamberton where he was Assistant Principal. Then while at Eastern University he worked as an Adjunct Professor. He retired from Germantown High School where he was the Assistant Principal.
KIKO was very proud of his Spanish heritage and loved music especially Spanish music. He cultivated this love by visiting St. Thomas, Cuba and Trinidad. When not in a classroom setting KIKO expressed his love of music by working as a DJ which garnered him the reputation as one of Philly’s Finest.
KIKO will be remembered by everyone who holds his memory dear and those whose lives he impacted.
HASTA QUE NOS VOLVAMOS A ENCONTRAR
(Until we meet again).
Lovingly, family and friends.
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