Mission and Sacred Values
Our Guiding Principles
In keeping with the school’s Deed of Trust, Milton Hershey School nurtures and educates children in social and financial need to lead fulfilling and productive lives. This happens by achieving our mission and Sacred Values—an unwavering commitment our community makes each and every day.
The mission of Milton Hershey School remains true to the ideals upon which it was founded in 1909…
In keeping with Milton and Catherine Hershey’s Deed of Trust, Milton Hershey School nurtures and educates children in social and financial need to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
Milton Hershey valued loyalty, honesty, respect, and integrity. He expected both students and employees to uphold these values. Even the first school viewbook, dating back to 1912, emphasizes character.
This commitment still stands today in the form of our MHS Sacred Values. For each of the four Sacred Values, MHS expects its community to demonstrate essential behaviors, known as our “I” statements.
- I set goals and work hard to achieve them.
- I follow the School Pledge.
- I represent our school with pride.
- I participate whole-heartedly in campus life.
- I make good decisions.
- I do what I say I will do.
- I tell the truth and do not gossip.
- I accept responsibility for my actions.
- I demonstrate a strong work ethic by going above and beyond.
- I encourage and work well with others.
- I engage actively in solving problems.
- I remain flexible and optimistic during difficult times.
- I seek to understand the viewpoints of others.
- I listen and communicate with courtesy.
- I recognize the strengths and contributions of others.
- I live by the Golden Rule.
A Mother’s Love and Inspiration
Keeping in mind the opportunities that Milton’s mother, Fanny, gave him and the couple’s inability to have children of their own, Milton and Catherine Hershey created the school to help resilient children from working-class backgrounds achieve their dreams.
- I will keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
- I will keep my standards high and help others to do likewise.
- In my relations with others, I will live by the Golden Rule and speak the truth at all times.
- I pledge myself to honor, and to do all I can for the good of my school, my country, and my God.
Deed of Trust
Milton Hershey School was established in 1909 when Milton and Catherine Hershey signed a Deed of Trust. Their goal was to provide low-income, orphaned boys with a school and home. With this support, the boys would be able to lead successful and happy lives.
This legal document still guides the school today. It was only amended twice, to expand access to MHS to girls and minorities.
Like most high schools or colleges, one school tradition at MHS is singing its Alma Mater. Alma Mater is a Latin phrase meaning “nourishing or bountiful mother.” It is a positive, implying loyalty and admiration for an institution and its nurturing qualities. The words Alma Mater can refer to the school or the school’s main song.
As a home and school that nurtures the whole child, Milton Hershey School fits the role of “nurturing mother” in a unique and important way for its students.
Tradition in Song
At the end of each school assembly, MHS students sing the Alma Mater. During the final verse, in what has become tradition, the students raise their hands in the air when the words “Lives filled with strength and honor” are sung.
Two different songs have served as Milton Hershey School’s Alma Mater since its founding. The first version was sung to the “Anchors Aweigh” tune. In 1956, two staff members wrote new music and lyrics.