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'He just opened up a doorway for us': Cavalier Johnson's historic mayoral victory inspires MPS students

TMJ4's Charles Benson visited Bay View High School where Johnson's path began
Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 19:16:50-04

Pride was in the hallways Wednesday at Cavalier Johnson's alma mater.

The home of the Redcats is now known as the high school of Milwaukee's new Mayor.

"I am so excited and happy for him, but I'm not surprised at all, " said Jeanie Simmert, Johnson's Bay View High School Counselor.

She remembers a standout, community minded young man.

"He was very active doing things like the blood drive for the National Honor Society and charity food drives," Simmert shared.

On election night and on the campaign trail, Johnson tells his story of moving from one challenging neighborhood to the next while growing up in Milwaukee, constantly changing schools as a kid.

Senior Jaelin Brown sees Johnson's success as inspiring.

"I look at that as many opportunities for me, especially looking back at him as the first Black Mayor in Milwaukee," Brown said.

Johnson is not only the city's first Black Mayor, he represents a new, younger generation of Milwaukee leaders. County Executive David Crowley is also a Bay View graduate.

Senior Dulce Medina sees hope for other Milwaukee Public School students in Johnson's victory.

"I think he just opened up a doorway for us. He took the step for us, and we are going to make a leap," said Medina. "I think we are going to do great things after high school."

Johnson graduated from Bay View High School in 2005 and then later from UW-Madison. A letter his counselor wrote back then stands out now when she thinks of Johnson.

"I said, Cavalier was also a sensitive, kind young man. He has great humility and at the same time, a deep confidence in himself," said Simmert. "I know with certainty that he will find success in the future."

Johnson is expected to be officially sworn in April 13 to finish out the remaining two years of Tom Barrett's term.

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