Milton Hershey School Houseparent Shares the Joy of Coming Home
By Sheldon Green ’88, MHS Houseparent
I enrolled at Milton Hershey School on Jan. 3, 1981. Exactly 28 years later, I came home and started a new career with my wife as houseparents at MHS. That date has changed the trajectory of my life not once, but twice and has made Homecoming Weekend have multiple special meaning for me.
While my transition to MHS was not the easiest, a world of possibilities opened for my future. I developed a yearning to learn and a passion for working with others. I knew that I was better because I had come to MHS.
After spending eight years at MHS as a student, I was ready for the next chapter. I knew that the memories and relationships I had gained at the school would travel with me as I moved on. Every year, Homecoming Weekend gives me the opportunity to see my classmates and stay connected to my alma mater. As an MHS graduate, attending Homecoming Weekend is truly like coming home.
More than anything, it’s a time to reminisce about where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. It’s a time to be connected to those who share your same, unique experiences. While MHS prepares you to make a difference in the world, it can be challenging to navigate being the only one in a room with such a unique background.
For many years, coming back for Homecoming Weekend meant a deep reflection into my memories of my own life—feeling like I was an MHS student once again.
Today, more than 35 years after I graduated from MHS, I celebrate Homecoming a little bit differently, but it’s still just as special. Now, I get to catch up and reminisce with my former classmates and see all the girls who have passed through my student home, graduated from MHS, and now are leading their own lives.
It’s such an incredibly humbling moment when graduates from my student home come back to visit during Homecoming, and I get to share in their successes and mentor them through their challenges. Being a houseparent—whether an MHS graduate or not—is a lifelong commitment and Homecoming Weekend is just one way that those relationships continue.
Homecoming Weekend is an opportunity to continue to grow with my classmates and watch my graduates grow up, too. It’s a connecting point for those who finished their journey at MHS decades ago and current students. There’s wisdom, celebration, and most importantly, reunion during Homecoming Weekend.
While Homecoming has evolved over the years, to be able to see the two most impactful, important, and challenging pieces of my life collide with one another is an experience that is hard to put into words. I look forward to celebrating Homecoming Weekend each year, just like I look forward to honoring Jan. 3 and all the important moments it holds.