Olivia Lewis – Saint Vincent College
As a cautious eighth grader from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh, Olivia Lewis didn’t know what to expect when she enrolled at Milton Hershey School.
“I wasn’t thriving at my previous school, and my family didn’t come from a lot of money,” Olivia said. “We wouldn’t have had enough [money] for me to go to college and get a good education, so my mom thought MHS would be a great opportunity for me.”
It was a challenging but rewarding transition for Olivia. She moved to Hershey, Pennsylvania where she lived on a residential campus in student homes with eight to 12 students of the same gender and similar ages. It was the relationships she formed in and out of the classroom that fueled her.
“I like to learn and the teachers at MHS made me want to stay,” she said. “My friendships also are what keep me going. When I go home, I don’t have friends like that.”
As Olivia got involved with athletics and academics, she continued forming supportive relationships on the basketball, volleyball, and track and field teams. She also gained industry experience and certifications by completing the Engineering and Design career pathway in the school’s renowned Career and Technical Education Program.
“I may be ahead in a few college courses because I already have the certifications I need,” Olivia explained. “We graduate with a big advantage having the certifications we do from MHS.”
Olivia’s postgraduation plans came full circle when she made the decision to attend college at Saint Vincent College near Pittsburgh—the place where her family first heard about MHS five years earlier during a community event. As a first-generation college student, Olivia plans to major in engineering sciences and minor in mathematics education, but she’s also interested in the military.
“For the past couple years, I’ve been interested in enlisting in [the military] because I like being active—but I want to give college a try first,” Olivia said. “If I get my degree in engineering, I could create designs for the military or go into active duty.”
At Milton Hershey School, there are multiple paths students can create for themselves to build a brighter future. Whether they pursue higher education or join the military or workforce, MHS provides the tools and support to help them achieve their definition of success.