Fay Sasser Scholarship Recipient Follows Their Passions (Part 4 of 4)
By Jake Ten Pas
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. For 44 years at Multnomah Athletic Club, Fay Sasser was the employee who knew the most members’ names, helping to give the club the homey feeling for which it’s still known. She created community one interaction at a time, and her name lives on in MAC and Multnomah Athletic Foundation’s awarding of the annual scholarships in her name.
It doesn’t take a memory like Sasser’s to remember the names of this year’s MAC Employee Scholarship Program recipients, who all have unforgettable tales to tell. Each one of them received $5,000 to help them further develop their stories by pursuing higher education opportunities. These dreamers envision a better world, and MAC and MAF are helping them to realize their full potential as they pursue their passions.
When a b-boy talks about popping, he doesn’t generally mean his Achilles tendon. A b-boy is someone who breaks, or breakdances, by the way, and popping is a style of dance akin to breaking. Any student of Cameron Dupon could likely tell you this.
The dance instructor has helped popularize breaking at MAC, doubling the club’s offerings since 2012. All the while, he’s been performing with the Portland City Rockers, a local crew that has represented hip-hop culture for nearly two decades. It was while dancing with them that he felt the wrong kind of pop in the back of his ankle. His Achilles was torn and fully ruptured.
“It was my first major injury with breakdancing!,” Dupon says. “I started when I was 12 or 13, and progressively as I got older, the passion for dancing continued.”
Dupon describes himself as not particularly talented early on, but says that struggle to improve is part of what fueled him to stick with it. “I had to learn different tricks and techniques to try to make myself stand out when people were doing way bigger moves than I was.”
“Because the opportunities for doing shows and events were not as plentiful, I ended up transitioning more toward teaching,” he says. After getting his foot in the door at Parkrose High School, he took a position with MAC under former Dance Manager Laura Haney. Soon, he found himself drawn as much to teaching as to dancing.
“I was able to really build my connection with the students, and learn more about teaching,” Dupon says. “I realized that if I could teach my expertise, which was breakdancing, I could probably also teach general education. It was an evolutionary process.”
Now, after getting his boot off, Dupon not only looks forward to breaking again in December, but also to finishing the Graduate Teacher Education Program at PSU come spring. He says that the support he’s received from MAC and MAF has helped him not only to realize a new purpose, but to achieve his goals further injuring himself financially.
“This scholarship means the world to me because I had to take out a decent amount of student loans. My goal this year during grad school was to try not to take out any loans at all. This scholarship allowed me to live on a smaller budget, and to not have to go into debt further to get my teaching license. “