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Milton Hershey School Valedictorian Shares a Message with the Class of 2021

By Lydia Lausch ’21, Valedictorian

The idea of growing up is uncomfortable on its own, and when change occurs suddenly there are only two ways to respond: wait or initiate. While the Milton Hershey School Class of 2021 was forced to confront unprecedented times, we did so with the willingness to persevere through virtual school and an untraditional senior year.

Through it all, we learned to appreciate the little things that matter like focusing our attention on our relationships, living in the moment, and preparing for our futures.

Milton Hershey School valedictorian Lydia Lausch at PMEA competition

When I first enrolled at MHS on February 23, 2017, I realized one fundamental truth of life: change is inevitable. We must learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable because if we don’t, we prevent ourselves from discovering what we are capable of.

This year, more than any other, we learned another important lesson: daunting obstacles become our milestones. We come from an environment where adaptability is instinctual, and fortunately for us, we have become professionals at change.

Milton Hershey School Class of 2021 graduates

The challenges and uncertainty we faced will not be the last, but we can enter the world knowing we do not have to overcome new obstacles alone. Our friends, teachers, and adults on campus have prepared us to enter the world with confidence in our abilities and pride in who we are. Needless to say, MHS is more than a school: it is a home.

Milton Hershey School Visual and Performing Arts students

Members of the Class of 2021, we have shown initiative as catalysts of change and advocates for ourselves and others. We are the living example of what is possible. While we cannot change the past, we can grip the powerful pen of destiny and rewrite the future.

I leave you with one final statement inspired by author Ayn Rand, “The question isn’t who is going to let us; it’s who is going to stop us.” And for the Class of 2021, the answer is no one.

Learn More About the MHS Class of 2021 Rewatch Commencement Weekend 2021 Events

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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.