When Brock Romano ’12 enrolled as a sixth-grader at Milton Hershey School on April 2, 2006, he was excited to live near cows, have recreational opportunities, and most importantly, experience a home.
“I was ecstatic with excitement because I never experienced a legitimate home. My family bounced up and down the East Coast,” Brock explained. “It was a privilege to be accepted into a place that had the consistent features of an actual home.”
As a middle schooler at MHS, Brock didn’t know where he wanted to go in life. But as he took advantage of more opportunities provided to him at the school, doors opened.
“Milton Hershey stepped into my life and [showed me] direction,” he said. “We were provided with opportunities at the school, but we had to earn every single one. I believe that really instilled discipline in me.”
Brock joined various athletic teams, including football, and stuck with the sport throughout his high school career as a left tackle and center. He also enjoyed the Year-Round Experiences (YRE) program, where he had the opportunity to participate in summer camps that were full of exciting activities.
“I was highly involved in the YRE program. It opened doors to me making friends, making adult connections, and just experiencing life itself,” Brock said. “I didn’t have a lot of that when I was at home.”
As a student, Brock experimented with multiple career pathways in the Career and Technical Education program until he found his love for business. He enrolled at Indiana University of Pennsylvania after graduation and is currently pursuing a degree in international business. He also began taking Spanish classes at MHS and has continued with the language throughout college—now, he’s a fluent Spanish speaker.
“MHS gave me everything I needed to succeed, from the teachers and administration to the career involvement, friendships, and the living experience,” he said. “The school gave us everything we needed, but it was up to us to make the choice of who we saw ourselves being.”
Brock also credits MHS with teaching him to accept failure—a lesson that drives him and encourages him as he finishes his college career.
“Failure is humbling in itself. Of course it’s frustrating, but without failure, we don’t make progress,” Brock explained. “Milton Hershey failed multiple times and look what he did with his life. He’s given us life, and he’s given us a chance. That’s a prime example of not being afraid to fail and making something out of that.”