February 5, 2024 | General Johnnie Wilson Middle School hosted a birthday party that certainly did the job of wowing the guest of honor.
With all students and staff in attendance, the school's namesake, the real-life retired Army Gen. Johnnie Wilson, said Monday's celebration in honor of his 80th birthday was the biggest birthday party he had ever attended. Appearing via Zoom from his home in Virginia, General Wilson – the only still living history maker to have a Lorain school named in his honor – said he loves to talk about the Titans who attend the school bearing his name.
"When the people in my area ask about the Johnnie E. Wilson Middle School, I tell them the students going through Wilson Middle will always be successful because they have been born to be great, and they will always do the best they can," General Wilson said in thanking students for his birthday wishes.
The school, which opened in the early 2000s, is named in honor of the Lorain native who, after entering the Army in 1961 as an enlisted soldier, rose to the rank of a four-star general.
General Wilson's awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Special Forces Tab, and a Master Parachutist Badge.
Principal Nikole Davis, who organized Monday's celebration just one day after General Wilson's actual birthday and created an event complete with balloons, cupcakes, birthday cards, musical performances, and trivia, said she never forgets the man whose name is emblazoned on her building.
"We have been given the opportunity to serve and work under this amazing man's name," Mrs. Davis said. "He has created black history for Lorain."