Milton Hershey School Alumnus, Staff Member Shares the Impact of Houseparents
By Roger Smith ’85, MHS Student Program Leader
I came to Milton Hershey School from Brooklyn, New York as a ninth-grader. I was born in Trinidad and Tobago, and my mother immigrated to New York to pave her way. My siblings and I stayed with our family in Trinidad, so it was a sacrifice for my mother to leave her kids to seek a better opportunity for us. The same thing happened when the opportunity of MHS came along for me—she trusted that MHS and its houseparents would take care of her son. I could tell right off the bat that my houseparents were at MHS to make a difference in students’ lives. And when you feel that as a student, it brings comfort.
I remember when my houseparents first moved into the student home, we were all watching. They moved in 10 pieces of cooking equipment, so we all knew we were going to eat well. They had such a passion to take care of their kids. They taught me how to cook because that is a lifelong skill. Everything they did was with love.
There are some houseparents at MHS that have known me since I was a student. Houseparents are at the forefront of changing students’ lives. I now try to carry that out in my own role at MHS. I want to be a strong figure that students can look up to just like I looked up to my houseparents when I was a student.