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Be The Change, Class of 2020—From Your Hopeful Classmate

By Riley Barcklow ’20

Milton Hershey School is unlike any other institution. We have sacred values. We learn to cook, clean, and make our beds. We have staff that treat us like family. All of the students have personal hardships and histories, yet, we don’t let them define us.

At 12 years old, I lost my father on New Year’s Day to bipolar depression. I personally took on that burden and for years, I blamed myself. I was angry and that anger took me into a five-year depression. I saw no future for myself until I started at MHS.

We all have come from similar hardships and have unique stories to tell. We overcame poverty, dealt with violence, worked through mental, physical, or emotional abuse, and for some, so much more. We worked as hard as we could to make the best out of our situation.

The Milton Hershey School Class of 2020 pose for a photo in the gym.

Photo courtesy of Riley.

The Class of 2020 has had downfalls just like any other class, but we are leaving MHS stronger than ever. All of us are making the best of our home and school situations. Our class was born during September 11, 2001 and now we are graduating in a worldwide pandemic.

The Greek philosopher, Socrates, once said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Our generation is going to change the world – at least, that’s what the world keeps telling us. I believe it. We are the change. The change the world needs. I want to believe that in our lifetime men and women will be equal, racism will not exist, hate crimes will be history, and hate will turn into peace. If I’m not the motivation — let police brutality be the motivation; let world hunger be the motivation; let our failing environment be the motivation. Things won’t change unless we do it ourselves.

We are the change — we are the Class of 2020!


Read More About the Class of 2020

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. View full Equal Opportunity Policy.