Milwaukee High School of the Arts
"MPS inspired me because I had teachers that showed genuine compassion to me throughout my journey"
A graduate of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, (MHSA) Ms. JoLanda Rogers is the Founder of T.A.L.K. Consulting, LLC. – TELL your story. ACCEPT your truth. LEARN your identity. KNOW your strength.
She has authored the children’s book “Yours is Yours & Mine is Mine” – about body-safety and boundaries. JoLanda is the author of a trilogy that addresses supporting those impacted by childhood sexual abuse. Currently, JoLanda is working on bringing the “Publishing Color Conference” to Milwaukee in April 2020. This conference will bring 10-15 national publishers to meet with aspiring authors. This will help to offer ‘connections’ to writers from our area, with national publishers such as; Baker House, Amistad - HarperCollins, InterVarsity, etc. “I learned how to do the "what" from MHSA, but now it comes down to having to have the “who” in place. And if you can’t find those connections, well . . .”
JoLanda attended Story Middle School and while she was there, her music teacher, Ms. Williams, “loved me like a mom.” She would check my attitude if it wasn’t right, offer a hug if needed, and allowed me to be myself; whatever that was for the day! In high school, I had teachers who were my rock! Not only were my teachers at MHSA great mentors, they were always looking to make me be the best that I could be. They pushed me, inspired me, loved me and challenged me. “Those relationships were real, and I knew that they genuinely cared about me.” JoLanda began her journey as a dance major but after her freshman year, she developed a critical health issue and could no longer dance. Principal Eugene Humphrey sat me down, counseled and consoled me, and said: “Keep your head up, there has to be another artistic interest here for you at MHSA.” He continued to have faith in me and wanted me to succeed in a place where I felt that I belonged. He didn’t give up on me, in fact, he opened the door of possibilities to me. I decided to be a creative writing major and the rest is history. As an author, looking back on that decision; it was pivotal. “It was one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far!”
“How did going to an MPS school impact and/or inspire you to do what you are doing today?
As a student, JoLanda excelled. She maintained high honor and honor roll status through middle and high school. The teachers with whom she had strong relations looked beyond me as just an academic success, they genuinely cared about me as a person. MPS inspired me to give back; to make an impact on those who need it. I want to be to others what I needed most as a student; a genuine, caring and loving human being. I want to encourage young people to share their stories as well. Students have experiences that matter; both in and out of school. I am an advocate for encouraging students to T.A.L.K. about what matters to them. I value the voice that young people bring to the table – and as they grow, develop, and mature -their voices bring about awareness, impact, and change.
How are you giving back to the community?
In the community, I seek out opportunities that allow people space to talk. I believe that anything can be healed, solved, or improved upon simply through communication; talking. This April I set a goal for myself to reach 500 students with the book, “Yours is Yours, & Mine is Mine.” I was able to reach 513 students in our city alone and shared the message with them. Every month my business highlights other businesses in the city - ones that advocate for keeping children safe.
What are your specific goals in ‘giving back” to MPS?
I want to be an advocate for students. I want to be there to listen to their stories. I’d like to offer parents, students and educators an opportunity to talk about issues and concerns that affect them daily. I want to work with the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, my alma mater, and have the students in each art area help spread the work of advocacy and reaching out. I learned firsthand (at MHSA) by participating in “senior projects,” that the integration of arts and academics can be powerful. At MHSA, a senior project would involve students working together, sharing artistic mediums, communicating ideas, thoughts or concepts. Working together, we were able to use art as a platform. Those roots continue to inspire me today. I want the visual artists at MHSA to help me illustrate my book, maybe do role-playing conferences with theater majors etc. The possibilities are endless. “That is what I learned at MHSA and now it is my turn to give back.”
“Live life with a vertical and horizontal approach; as you soar upward, make sure that you are always reaching outward leaving an impact on those around you.” JoLanda Rogers
Milwaukee High School of the Arts Friends - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1285137721572908/
MHSA Alumni Association: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MHSA.Alumni/
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