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Celebrating the Legacy of Milton Hershey

By Lisa Scullin, MHS Vice President of Communications

At Milton Hershey School, we make special days memorable for our students and staff. Holidays are filled with all the joy and trimmings you would hope for in a home with hundreds of children. During sports seasons, we rally behind our Spartan teams. On Milton Hershey’s birthday, we reflect and celebrate.

Milton Hershey School student rides the carousal during Hersheypark Day.

The idea of celebrating the birthday of someone no longer with us may seem out of place, but at MHS this annual milestone is a gift. It provides an opportunity to honor the legacy our founder left for us to carry out in perpetuity—far beyond any of our lives and bigger than any one person. What many don’t realize is the impact that our founder has had on so many—me included.

One of the things that keeps me connected to the MHS community is the way we come together in celebration of the special days—the days that remind students and staff alike why we are here. These subtle reminders bring us back to our Sacred Values and center us.

In 1937, the Hershey community gathered in Hersheypark Arena to wish the entrepreneur and philanthropist a happy birthday. Many decades later, we carry on that tradition of celebrating the man who has changed the lives of more than 11,000 MHS graduates and countless others beyond our campus and even our country.

This year, more than 4,000 students, staff and their families took time out to celebrate. They spent the day at Hersheypark, despite the clouds and rain. While this day was focused on fun, it also reinforced our “why”—supporting the vision that Mr. Hershey and his wife Catherine came up with so many years ago—quite possibly the chocolatier’s sweetest creation. That mission is a gift that keeps on giving to the benefit of so many children and families whose lives have changed for the better. In the afternoon, glimmers of sunshine broke through the clouds, and I couldn’t help but think we weren’t the only ones celebrating.

On days like this, I often reflect on a quote that Milton Hershey shared: “I learned something from that which I have found out to be true in all lines of endeavor: If a man does not like the work he does, he is not a success; if he loves his work, he does good work and lots of it.”

Milton Hershey School student stands to measure himself at Hersheypark.

I can tell you that here at MHS, we love the work we do. So, to Milton Hershey, I wish you a very happy birthday, and I thank you for providing us with a mission I am proud to carry on and promote every day. Through the commitment of my colleagues, I know that those celebrating Sept. 13 will only grow in number and gratitude.

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. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.