Collection of Articles About School History
Since 1909, Milton Hershey School has been founded on a deep, rich history created by Milton and Catherine Hershey. Today the school’s mission, to nurture and educate children in financial need, is helping to change thousands of lives for the better.
Students, staff, alumni and the greater MHS community work together to ensure the Hersheys’ legacy continues to build brighter futures. To learn more about the history of MHS, browse our collection of articles below.
Why the Spartans?
Before the Hershey Industrial School Junior-Senior High School opened in 1934, HIS students attended Hershey High School, but did not play on its athletic teams. Alumnus Harold Good, HIS class of 1936, attended Hershey High School in his freshman and sophomore years and recalls that the Hershey Industrial School students played football for the first time for Hershey High in the 1933 season to prepare them for their own team the following year. The Hershey public school team was first referred to as Trojans in the Choclatier yearbook in 1932.
When the new HIS Junior-Senior High School opened in 1934, the first football team (pictured here) was coached under the leadership of Ralph Hoar, Alfred Gibble, and William Landis. In its first game, the HIS football team played to victory over previously undefeated Hummelstown, with a score of 6-0. Because there was no league for private schools that first year, the Spartans displayed their spirit and athleticism when playing teams of older students from Stevens Trade School in Lancaster and their own HIS alumni. They ended the season with a record of seven wins, one loss, and one tie and scored a total of 132 points. For the second season in 1935, the team played in the Central Pennsylvania Trade School Conference and tied Williamson Trade for second place.
Many people ask when the HIS teams were first referred to as the Spartans… [Continue reading here.]
A Commitment to Community
The new “Welcome to Hershey” sign located on the hill in front of the soon-to-be dedicated Catherine Hall is a dramatic reminder of the interrelationship that exists between Milton Hershey School, the town of Hershey, and the various Hershey entities. As shown in the accompanying photograph, the current sign is an exact recreation of a previous sign which the graced the same area many years ago. Interestingly enough, Milton Hershey School records are strangely silent on the events and circumstances surrounding the creation of the original sign. Most of what we have been able to discover has been pieced together through interviews with various individuals in the MHS and Hershey communities who played a role in conceiving and crafting the actual sign.
The idea for erecting a prominent sign to greet visitors to Hershey originated with... [Continue reading here.]
“Every mother, father, brother, and sister will feel that the day is theirs if they visit Hershey for this big week-end.” This “big week-end” described in The School Industrialist was the first Hershey Industrial School Parent Weekend held in 1950. Sponsored by the Senior Senate, the weekend included open houses at student homes and school buildings and featured two special shows. The Junior Division presented the operetta “The Old Man of the Mountains,” a musical comedy with a cast of 150 boys, while the Senior Division program showcased the H.I.S. Glee Club, Spartan Orchestra, band, and the choir performing popular tunes and of course, the H.I.S. Alma Mater.
The program began with an official welcome by School Superintendent D. Paul Witmer, a student welcome by George Tashie, President of the Student Senate and Former MHS President, William Fisher ’50 served as the master of ceremonies. According to a newspaper article written by Hale Jones ’50, “Robert High and Dale Peiffer, popular piano duo of last year’s graduation class, will be on hand for the program.” A feature article in the School publication, The School Industrialist, stated that the goal of the new special weekend program and special activities was… [Continue reading here.]
Learning by Doing: True to the Hersheys’ Vision
When studying history, it is important to look at who, what, where, and when, but in order to truly understand a topic, it is the why that gives full meaning. In the same way, for us to understand why Milton Hershey set up the Hershey Industrial School the way he did, one needs to look at Milton Hershey’s childhood, because it foreshadows the current Milton Hershey School in many ways. Young Milton enjoyed gathering chestnuts and acorns, trapping muskrats, picking watercress, and fishing in the country around Derry Church.
After his family moved to Lancaster County, Milton gathered eggs, milked cows, and sold berries door to door. As he grew older, his interests expanded to trapping skunks–until he tried to catch one with his bare hands and received the wrath of the skunk. After being sent home by the teacher, Milton’s mother, Fanny, had him get rid of his traps. Not to be deterred, Milton showed signs of his business savvy by striking a deal with his friends that he would give them his traps on the condition that they return half the profits to him. Milton Hershey further developed his entrepreneurial skills in Philadelphia, where his mother sold butter. According to the unpublished biography by Dr. Paul A.W. Wallace, after Mr. Hershey achieved success he was asked, “‘How did you get so rich?’ he replied: ‘I started to sprout potatoes for people in Philadelphia to earn money to buy candy. And then I sold that and kept on sprouting potatoes.'”
When Milton Hershey was creating his home and school, he looked to his own upbringing as a foundation… [Continue reading here.]
Times Change – but the Heart of a Spartan Never Changes
Building construction, population, academics opportunities, technology, diversity of campus etc. – all have evolved. The School still teaches kinship, cooperation, good work habits, responsibility, academic challenge, citizenship and pride in oneself.
Despite the School’s constant evolution, the ongoing theme of gratefulness and appreciation still rings true of the alumni of years ago. Interview any alumnus, and he or she will gladly tell you his or her story of what the school has done for him/her. These accounts show us just a little part of each person. How much more should we reflect, ponder and listen to the experiences people share. What we could discover! Imagine yourself curled up next to grandma or grandpa listening to his stories of financial struggle, but rewarding and wonderful reminiscences of family and childhood. They never took for granted what they had, but kept a continual humbleness of what was given… [Continue reading here.]