Proud Alumnus of Bradley Technology and Trade High School
David Bowen, born and raised on Milwaukee’s North Side, attended Milwaukee Public Schools and was an honor graduate in 2005 from Bradley Technology and Trade High School. In 2012, he was elected to the Milwaukee County Board as Supervisor for the 10th District, becoming the youngest member of the Board and one of the youngest Black elected officials in Milwaukee’s history
David may have his ‘eye on the prize’ as the future Lieutenant Governor - stay tuned!
When asked if Milwaukee Public Schools had an impact on his growth and development, David replied that he had "amazing educational experiences" that began at elementary school.
“I went to Lloyd Street Elementary School. I specifically recall Helen Harris, and many other professionals that truly love children.”
I was very intent on trying to find a high school that peaked my interest - one that offered the things that I was most interested in during my youth. I initially wanted to be an architect, and at the time, Tech had an impressive architectural program. Being exposed to the trades at a young age, although it was not looked upon as a viable “next step,” was very valuable to me and offered me many experiences in the field. "There were many kids who I knew that didn't want to take the college career path, you know, and a school like Tech served me well. Most of my high school experiences were technical and related to the field that I'm currently working in now, that being community engagement."
I attended Morse Middle School, and Dr. Onyk, who was the principal at that time, created a leadership council. "It was then that I had a chance to, for the first time, understand issues dealing with education. We focused on the differences in education – specifically at it relates to education comparing the suburban districts to public education in the city." These conversations provided me an opportunity to be an advocate for education. As middle school students, we we're immersed into the process of change, and actually, that was a very valuable experience as it shaped my involvement in other leadership groups, such as the “Urban Underground,” (Urban Underground is promoting a new generation of young leaders committed to building safe and sustainable communities. We advance our mission through effective programs, strategic partnerships, and youth-led social change. Founded in 2000, Urban Underground is a nationally recognized organization providing innovative opportunities for youth and young adults ages 14-21). While in high school, he joined a youth development program that was aimed at high school students from across the district. This program focused on getting students involved in their schools, their neighborhoods, and their communities. Conversations focused on issues that mattered to students! "Even at that time, many students felt that too many decisions were being made for young people - without their input! David learned at a young age that one need not wait for other people to make decisions. He learned that by getting involved, one can influence how those decisions are made - having a voice as a student is very important in terms of advocacy and training students to be leaders.”
In his current role on the Milwaukee County Board, he is inspired every day to "make change." When David was in high school, he fell in love with the world of politics, where a lot of important decisions are made, and coalitions are built and where people collaborate to benefit everyone. "I remember volunteering to support a number of campaign issues. I really enjoyed being engaged with people while important conversations were being had. Conversations about investing in our community, in our schools, and in our neighborhoods, so that young people could be successful - so that our communities are successful. I truly believe that it was meant for me to be in those spaces that help to shape change.”
David had an opportunity to speak at the Bradley Tech commencement exercises in 2018. He recalls the experience to be “a unique moment, where everything seemed to have come full circle."
“To tell these young people, who were sitting in the same seats that I did many years ago, that they have the power to be beacons of change - to empower them, to encourage them and to inspire them was an amazing feeling! I represented success! One of those who have come before them and advocated for them to have access to the same success.”
Tech has one of the largest Alumni networks in the district, and it creates a lot of pride for all who attended. I've attended the “all-class cookout” that happens every summer - you're talking about generations of alumni from all over the world that come back for this event. The fact that we haven't forgotten where we come from is immeasurably important because that is what ties us all together. If I could speak to my fellow MPS alumni, I would encourage them to stay connected. Contribute in some way, either through the district or through some of the alumni network opportunities. Support our educators!
Are you an MPS Alum who is giving back to your community? Do you know of an MPS graduate who is making a difference in their community? Send information to the Alumni Hub: firstname.lastname@example.org