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Carol Wegner

Milwaukee Girls' Trade and Technical High School

Keeping the Legacy Alive!


Carol Wegner - Alumna of Milwaukee Girls' Trade and Technical High School, or Girls Tech. Carol was a member of the Class of 1954. She was enrolled in the Stenograph program at Tech and on the suggestion of one of her teachers, she went on to college and became a Business Education teacher. She retired from teaching business at Milwaukee Public Schools after 34 years. Upon retirement, Carol moved to a lake community and served as Lake Association secretary for ten years. During that time she also volunteered at various activities and became the Treasurer of the Girls Tech Alumnae Association in Milwaukee. The Alumnae Association continues to have Business luncheons twice a year. 

When asked why Girls Tech should be remembered, Carol responded: "Girls Tech was a fine school. It provided technical training so a student could get a good job with just a high school diploma. We trained competent office workers, health and child care workers, food service staff, musicians, and seamstresses. We had art, theater, and even a shop class. We had the regular academic work with the opportunity to go to additional training at the vocational school or get into college. A number of the recent graduates were elementary school teachers.

I have obituaries of graduates with the most interesting occupations. Some were employed by high-class women’s clothing stores for alterations, a talented woman who composed music and was the first in Wisconsin who wrote electronic music and taught at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The mayor’s wife attended GirlsTech. The list goes on and on. There was no true reason to close the school. I am not sure if what I heard as the reason for closing is the truth. But it was an injustice to the school."

At meetings throughout the years, the ladies remark about the "good education" and "practical skills" they received and how much they enjoyed the school. Many were wives, and mothers, and ran efficient households as well as occupations in the community.

"MPS taught me to help young people, encourage education, work hard, save some money for retirement, and be a good citizen in the community."

She explains how all of the teachers at Girls' Tech were very giving of their time and talents and inspired their students to do as much. She believes that teachers and all other staff should be an example of proper attire, language, productivity, and hard work. When asked who inspired her the most, she mentions her Business Education teacher, Irene T. Benker. She inspired me to achieve far beyond my, and others' expectations of me. I live by the motto - "Do your best because no one can ever take away the knowledge from you."

I continually tell members and friends who attend the Girls' Tech Alumnae luncheons, "Do the best that you can and strive to do even more. You don't know what you are capable of unless you try. " Once a teacher, always a teacher.  Carol makes MPS Proud! 

A little History behind the school - Girls' Trade and Technical High School existed from 1909 to 1954. The complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[State Normal School, 1885

The Milwaukee Public Schools bought and converted the old normal school building into the Girls' Trade and Technical High School. This progressive school was an achievement of Lizzie Black Kander and Milwaukee's Social Democrats. Kander wanted young women to be equipped with skills that would get them gainful employment instead of menial jobs. The initial courses of study were dressmaking and millinery. In 1919 classes were added in shorthand, touch-typing, bookkeeping, and business calculations. The school complex was expanded in 1918 with a Tudor-Gothic wing designed by Van Ryn & DeGelleke, and again in 1932 in a similar style. After WWII enrollment declined as families wanted a broader education for their daughters, and the trade school was converted in 1955 to the Wells Street Junior High.



Are you an MPS Alum who is giving back to your community?  Do you know of an MPS graduate making a difference in their community? If so, send information to David Valdes: 

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