If there’s one piece of advice Tom Connelly ’72 would pass along to current and future students at Milton Hershey School, it’s to find something that enriches your life.
“Take advantage of every activity you can; try everything,” he said. “Find something you can hang onto as a life skill and carry it with you.”
For Tom, he found his love for a capella singing at MHS and gained confidence in the process.
“No one believes I was a shy kid,” he said. “It was Milton Hershey School and glee club that helped me overcome my shyness because as members of the glee club, we were ambassadors of the school.”
Tom is still an ambassador, as a member of The Ambassadors of Harmony, an all men’s a capella chorus based in Missouri. The group earned its fourth international championship in July 2016 at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s competition in Nashville, Tennessee.
“It’s nice that we’re world champions, but it’s more about touching lives,” Tom said. “When you have a woman looking at you and her eyes are telling you paragraphs about her life, ‘my husband loved this music, we used to dance to this music,’ but all she can say is ‘thank you,’ you walk away with tears in your eyes knowing you’ve earned the real gold medal.”
Off stage, you can find Tom on the road in 13 states as the Midwest regional sales manager for Polymer Industries, a manufacturer of plastic products.
“I’ve been engineering and working with plastics for 38 years,” Tom said. “It’s a great industry. I help with everything from application and development to playground and park design.”
With his wide range of activities and interests, Tom is a firm believer in having balance in your life.
“When you’re in your 60’s and looking back on your life, that’s one of the things I’m most grateful for,” he said. “I had my church experience, my family experience, my career experience, and my singing experience. I have a multi-legged stool on which to sit and I’m blessed.”