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Milton Hershey School Partners to Provide Opportunities to Student-Athletes

By Malachi Thomas, MHS Senior

Growing up in Southwest Philadelphia, I always knew that my mom—a single mother of two—did her best. Before I came to Milton Hershey School, we moved around from house to house, trying to find a permanent place to lay our heads. Then my mother was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Scared to tell my older brother and I about her incurable diagnosis, she knew she needed help. She found her solution—we would attend MHS in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Little did she know, at MHS is where I would become the athlete I am today.

I enrolled at MHS on Jan. 24, 2015, not long after my mother passed away. I didn’t quite understand it then, but later I would come to know that this was the biggest sacrifice my mother could have ever made for my brother and me to have more opportunity and a stable life.

As I adjusted to my new life at MHS, I had no idea what was ahead of me. I did know, however, that my uncle, who had stepped in to care for us after my mother passed away, would always be there to support me through the ups and downs. My uncle is the reason I fell in love with playing sports.

My uncle has always been there for me even before my mom passed away. He would help my mom provide for us, making sure that we had everything that we needed. He introduced me to baseball—which I have played for seven years of my life because of his encouragement. My uncle must be one of the most selfless people I know. He doesn’t only take care of me, but I see him take care of others, too. His selflessness made me the person I am now. He has always cared about my interests and what I wanted to learn.

When I told him I wanted to become an athlete, he invested everything to make sure I was able to succeed at this goal. He inspires me to be the best that I can be as an athlete and as a person. He helps me by taking me to sports camps and off-season workouts, so that I gain new experiences. Most importantly, my uncle also is my biggest critic. After every game, he never fails to give me advice and input on how I played and what I can do to be better next time.

I wouldn’t be the athlete I am, though, without the resources I have at MHS. The school supports me as a student athlete by always pushing me to be my best on and off the court and field. This support has shown me that I can inspire those around me and make my community proud. Most importantly, MHS gave me the opportunity to play sports competitively which sparked a passion in me.

Since enrolling at MHS, I’ve grown more dependable and responsible for my own future. After high school, I hope to play football at the next level and study graphic design. My goal is to graduate from college and make my family and MHS community proud.

Together, my support system at MHS, my uncle, and my mother changed my life by working side by side to make sure I had every opportunity imaginable. I am the athlete, student, and person because of this partnership.

Explore Opportunities for Families at MHSRead More about Malachi

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