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MPS alumni are making careers of positive impact in the community

Milwaukee Public Schools is proud of all its alumni, and especially those who find ways to make their hometown a better place. Meet four alumni who are giving back to others through their careers.

Maeta BurnsMaeta Burns is a 1989 graduate of Milwaukee High School of the Arts and was part of the first class at MHSA that entered as freshmen. She shares, “I am a vocational program manager for individuals seeking to obtain or maintain employment while stabilizing their mental health. Our company is one of the largest nonprofits in Minnesota and serves people with barriers to employment and community access. We have found these past months to be taxing on the individuals and staff we support.

“The barriers have been challenging, and yet we persevere. Every time I plan on behalf of my staff, I hold my breath. The level of stress among clients and staff has multiplied. This year has forced changes that have moved us from our comfort zone, and I think love, thoughtfulness, compassion, and tenacity will win in the end. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to do the work I do and for one more day on the planet.” Read more of Maeta’s story!

Alonzo Chapman Alonzo Chapman is a proud graduate of Bradley Tech High School. He shares his story. “My family and friends know me as 'Deuce.' I was born and raised in Milwaukee. I always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps – he is a retired battalion chief with the Milwaukee Fire Department. Growing up watching my dad, I realized at a young age that I wanted to make a difference by giving back while being a part of something bigger than myself.

“The training and education that I am receiving is not only an investment in me, but it is an investment in my community. Part of the fire cadet curriculum involves working in the firehouse, and I love that it allows me to see the type of impact I can have in my community while learning new skills.” Read Alonzo’s full story!

Marquayla Ellison Marquayla Ellison is a 2007 alumna of Vincent High School. She is the owner and creative force behind Ellastic Designs LLC. Her innate creative skills were enhanced at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in design and visual communication in 2013. With the amazing support of family and friends, Marquayla started Ellastic Designs LLC, a small design firm creating custom digital and print designs for businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Marquayla values the opportunity to work, play, and visually enhance Milwaukee as a servant leader. She regularly gives back to the community and hosts social gatherings as co-owner and president of Social X MKE, a young professional diversity and inclusion consulting group. View Marquayla’s amazing work at Ellastic Designs.

Damon ShoatesDamon Shoates graduated from MPS Milwaukee Tech High School in 1986, and since then, has dedicated his life to helping others. For the past 22 years, Damon has inspired and uplifted Milwaukee young people through his work as a professional mentor at Running Rebels Community Organization. Damon specialized in working with youth involved in the juvenile justice system for 15 years before moving into the Violence Free Zone, a preventative in-school mentoring program. He is now the Running Rebels Violence Free Zone site supervisor at MPS Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education, where he provides mentoring, case management, and mediations for MPS students. Read Damon's full story on the MPS Alumni Hub.

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