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Milton Hershey School Twin Lifers Reflect on Personal Growth

Twins Brittney and Brigette Thompson will graduate in June with the distinction of being Milton Hershey School lifers. MHS has had more than 600 alumni enroll in pre-K, kindergarten, or first grade. At MHS, these students earn the distinction of being a lifer once they complete their 12 years of schooling and graduate.

As we prepare to celebrate them at the school’s 90th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, June 9, we asked several of this year’s 18 lifers what their time at MHS has meant to them.

Milton Hershey School lifers Brigette and Brittney Thompson

What inspired your family to choose MHS for your education?

Brittney: The endless opportunities that the school offers inspired my family to choose MHS for my education. Seeing other stories also helped my family acknowledge what the school can do for children.

How would you describe your journey from the moment you enrolled at MHS to your final year at MHS?

Brittney: There have been some hard times, but I always had to teach myself to put myself first and remember why I was here. Now, I am happy I stayed committed because I see what the school has done for me. I feel like I am set for after high school.

What are some of the Breakthrough moments you’ve had at MHS? 

Brittney: The school’s theme of Breakthrough means being able to get through the hard times to be able to enjoy the good times. When I was in sixth grade, I finally found my purpose for being a student here. This was the hardest year for me. It was a year of a lot of disappointment and many negative emotions until some of the most important MHS staff members helped me in ways that I didn’t know I needed help in. Because of them, I have been able to do great in school for the rest of my years here.

Who has made an impact on you during your time at MHS?

Brittney:  Mrs. Stewart, Mr. Hedrick, Mr. Gaston, Mr. and Mrs. Green, Ms. Jett, Mrs. Saylor, and Mr. Valentine have helped me in ways that I could never have asked for myself. These staff members were always there for me when I needed them. When I felt like I wasn’t doing good, they reminded me of my purpose and would acknowledge my accomplishments and growth. They encouraged me to not only continue to do better but to keep going here at school and in life.

Brigette: My Middle Division houseparent, Mrs. Melanie McKnight, taught me self-esteem and to always love God.

Mrs. Melissa Saylor is a caring mentor.

Mrs. Marianne Cutguno is the best teacher ever. She taught me to push myself!

How has MHS prepared you for your future?

Brittney:  MHS has taught me the importance of time management, networking, and scheduling.

Brigette: MHS has prepared me to take initiative and always stand up for myself and stay true to myself. It also taught me to speak up and have morals.

What are some of the most memorable, fun memories that you’ve had during your time here?

Brittney: I’ve been able to participate in the Student Government Association, which has always been a goal of mine. In Elementary Division, I made endless memories with friends that I still have today. I also enjoyed going to Hersheypark or just a simple outing with my student home.

Brigette: Some of my favorite memories are of just hanging out with my closest friends or having lengthy conversations and laughter with my high school student home. Also observing buzzer-winning plays at the last second in basketball games and marching on the field with my bandmates!

What advice would you share with a younger MHS student as they work hard and persevere toward their own Breakthrough moment?

Brittney: Always ask for help and always remember your purpose. It gets hard, but remember, it’ll be worth it. You will look back at it one day and thank yourself.

Brigette: Take advantage of every opportunity and soak in the moments with your student homes and friends. Don’t let go of the connections you made on the way! Remain true to yourself, authentic. Don’t let people determine your self-worth.

Learn More About Student Character and Leadership at MHS


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.