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Moving On and Moving In

In August of last year, I wrote about our students who would then be fourth graders, and how we would be preparing to send them to Middle Division in June. Our year was amazing. We had some of those students since they were in first grade, and seeing them prepare for middle school was both exciting and scary for all of us.

We understood the anxieties they had about moving on and not leaving the comfort zone they knew in Elementary Division. But throughout the year, we made the most of every moment. When June came, even though it was bittersweet, we knew our students were ready for what was in their near future.

And we miss them…we really do.

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But now the new school year begins and Student Home Bethune welcomes six students! The difference between this year and last is the age of our students. This year, our student home has girls that will be in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade—quite a change from last year. We are quickly learning the many differences, not only because the students are younger but also in the way our house will run with a group of younger children living here.

Last year, our older students became very self-sufficient. The girls knew what was expected of them and could easily complete their daily tasks with minimal instruction from either Jacqui or me. This year, we’re realizing that things are more easily done as a group. Everyone colors together, everyone eats snack together, and everyone plays together. We seem to move like a small herd throughout the house, but it works!

As we stick together, our new students will bond with us and with each other. They will learn from one another and notice how each student is growing in the Milton Hershey School way. As they see this happening, our girls will want to mimic these actions and become the best students they can be—growing together like a family that supports each other to be their best.

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At the end of our first day with our new students, Jacqui and I both let out a sigh. Not one of relief, but a sigh that said “we got this.” Yes, there will be new challenges and things that are much different than a house full of older students. But we realize that we’re likely to be with these girls for at least the next four years, so we have the privilege of watching them grow up in our student home. We have the privilege of seeing them become awesome students as they progress through the school’s program until graduation.

We can’t think of a better opportunity than what they will be offered here at MHS, and we’re grateful to share the experience with them. It’s going to be a great year!

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MHS Houseparent Blogs

Houseparents at Milton Hershey School significantly impact the lives of our students. Because houseparents work so closely with students, houseparents are important role models. Read the blogs of our houseparents and hear directly from the caring couples who support and nurture our students.

Read More Houseparent Blogs