Character and Leadership: Brianna’s Story
When Brianna enrolled at Milton Hershey School as a second-grader from Philadelphia, it took time for her to get used to being away from her family at such a young age.
“It was really hard at home before my grandmother came to help us, so my mom took the initiative to send me and my twin sister to MHS,” Brianna said. “At first, it was hard developing without my other family with me.”
Now a seventh-grader, Brianna says the support she received at the school has helped her get comfortable on campus.
“MHS helps me a lot with my struggles. It feels good to know someone is always there to help me,” she said.
Thanks to the support she receives from others, Brianna has developed an interest in helping people both on and off-campus. She is a member of the middle school cheerleading team, student government association, and even takes the initiative to write letters to MHS President Pete Gurt ’85 with ideas on how the school can give back to the community.
“Sometimes, people don’t have leaders in their lives and they have different motives to do something. You need leaders to show you what’s good and bad,” she said. “I try to be a leader, but if I’m too shy to say something when I know it’s wrong, I’ll ask another leader to help me do it.”
Learning from other leaders in her life and finding positive role models—including her peers, teachers, alumni, and family members—helps boost her confidence thanks to their shared experiences.
“My favorite memory from elementary school is when all the alumni came back and had a big Christmas celebration with us,” she said. “It’s fun to know how the school was before I came and also meeting other adults who know where I am and what I’m going through.”
As Brianna develops her leadership skills and continues to find ways to inspire others, she hopes to return to the school later in life and give back to the place that gave so much to her.
“MHS gives us a lot of opportunities, so it grows in every student to give back,” Brianna said. “I hope to come back and give back what the school has given to me.”