'Our future is the kids:' Bruce Weber, native son and MPS alum, honored at fundraising dinner

MILWAUKEE -- Hundreds of people came together at Discovery World Wednesday evening, Oct. 2 to honor alumni of Milwaukee Public Schools and raise money for students. The honorees ranged from current employees to those in the arts and sports world.

More than 400 people packed the Discovery World ballroom Wednesday to raise money for the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, funding college scholarship, trips, and supplies students need. At the center of the event were six awards for seven honorees who dedicate their lives to the district and students -- like Rick Polk, athletic director at Harold Vincent High School.

Rick Polk

"As long as I lead by example, people will follow me and follow what I do," said Polk.

"The district has produced some really great alums," said Wendell Willis, executive director of the MPS Foundation.

Bruce Weber, a graduate of John Marshall High School and head coach of the Kansas State University basketball team is one such alum. Foundation leaders said it's important to recognize the successes of MPS, from Polk and his wife to people like Weber.

"Yes, we may have some challenges, but we look at the community to help us with that, to make sure tomorrow's students have the same success our current alums have today," said Willis.

Wendell Willis

Alums, like Polk, said they hope to influence every day.

"I told them today that I'm receiving this on behalf of you, as well, because I wouldn't be noticed or recognized if I didn't do a good enough job in the community, and you're part of my community," said Polk.

Bruce Weber

Weber credited the community with helping him and his siblings grow, with Weber leading successful basketball programs from Southern Illinois University, the University of Illinois, and Kansas State University.

"I'm happy to be part of it," said Weber. "Hopefully people understand that education, our future is the kids, and if we can help young people reach their dreams and goals, you're going to help the country, the city, whatever it is, and that's so important to me."

The MPS Alumni Awards Dinner, in its third year in 2019, raised more than $26,000 for student needs and programming in 2018.