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Milton Hershey School Lifer Succeeds Through Obstacles

Fulfilling the Hersheys’ vision, more than 600 alumni have enrolled at Milton Hershey School in kindergarten or first grade—some even earlier. When a student finishes their schooling and graduates from MHS approximately 12 years later, these alumni become known as a “lifer.” As we prepare for Virtual Commencement Weekend 2021, several MHS lifers were interviewed to share their experience.

Milton Hershey School lifer MaKayla Jackson shares her MHS story

What does it mean to be an MHS lifer to you?

As a Milton Hershey School lifer, I have accomplished the unthinkable—I have succeeded and thrived through many obstacles.

What is your fondest memory of Milton Hershey School?

My fondest memory was one of the first MHS milestones I experienced—my Fourth-Grade Promotion Ceremony. Both of my parents were present that day and I received an award.

How has your time at MHS helped prepare you for life after graduation?

Milton Hershey School has prepared me for graduation by providing me the opportunity to further my education. After graduation, I will attend Howard University to major in nursing. My goal is to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Who would you like to recognize for helping you through your time at the school?

Throughout my 13 years at MHS, I have come across many staff members that have helped me become the young woman that I am today. There are several individuals that I would like to recognize further that have been mentors to me.

I met Mr. Campbell when I was in second grade. He knew my family and took me under his wing. As I began Middle Division, he was one of my fifth-grade teachers. Over the years, he became a huge part of my life; he was always there for me and gave me advice when I needed it. Mr. Campbell and his family opened their home to me and became the family that I lacked at home. Most recently, during the pandemic, he became very active in my life helping me the best he could.

I also would like to recognize my Middle Division houseparents, the Aviles. When I first met the Aviles, we automatically had a connection and have remained close since. Mr. Aviles grew to become a strong father figure in my life. He has really showed me what it is like to have a father and be that figure that any young girl needs in her life. The Aviles have taken me on vacations and made me feel like I belong. I want to thank them so much for everything they have done for me.

Lastly, I would like to recognize Ms. Moses, an MHS Transitional Living Assistant. Over this past year, we have become close. She is a strong, black woman in my life who I look up to. She has showed me what it looks like to persevere through adversity and love myself. I honestly appreciate everything she has done for me.

Learn More About the Significance of MHS Lifers Read About the Class of 2021

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.