When Aimee Charles ’06 looks back on the day she enrolled at Milton Hershey School as a freshman, she remembers the bustle and excitement in Founders Hall. She was eager to meet other new students and the houseparents and teachers who would shape her educational journey.
“I was raised by my grandma and we didn’t have very much money. I wouldn’t have had all the educational opportunities without MHS,” Aimee said. “More than anything, MHS really inspired me to be a community-minded person and a person who gives back.”
After graduation, Aimee made a commitment to give back and influence lives the way the Hersheys impacted hers. She went to Lancaster Bible College and received a degree in social work. She then moved to Phoenix, Arizona to pursue her master’s degree in special education—a decision that was inspired by her teachers at MHS.
“Some of the most inspirational people were my MHS teachers,” said Aimee. “They really pushed me to become a teacher so I could impact the lives of students every single day.”
Aimee became a teacher at a small charter school in Phoenix and is now working toward a second master’s degree in educational administration. An avid learner, Aimee attributes her drive and dedication to her positive outlook on life.
“A lot of my student population comes from similar circumstances as many of us did at MHS,” Aimee explained. “I like to impress upon them [the value of] community and using each other for support. I try to instill in them the idea of embracing what life gives you…and not allowing negative circumstances to pull you down.”
To continue leaving a positive mark on the world, Aimee also spent time working with children in the foster care system.
“I spent some time advocating for children who didn’t have advocates. I definitely feel like my time at MHS helped spark that because I was one of those children,” she said. “The opportunities MHS afforded me really made me want to pass that on to other children.”
Aimee continues to inspire students and educators to be the best version of themselves, and credits MHS for providing her with a nurturing support system that encouraged her to fulfill her goals.
“I love my career. I love my students. They impress me every day with their growth and passion for education,” Aimee added. “I’m thankful this is where my journey took me, because I really think it’s where I’m supposed to be.”