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One Milton Hershey School Student’s Passion for Hands-On Learning Extends Beyond Classroom

By Jocelyn Crist, MHS Eighth Grader

Since I can remember, I have loved using my hands to learn. From working on actual cars in a mechanic shop to taking apart and reconstructing lawn mowers in science classes, hands-on learning has defined my education inside and outside the classroom. Growing up in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and now Egg Harbor, New Jersey, I have always had a passion for working on cars and learning about automotive technology. This passion only grew after enrolling at Milton Hershey School.

Jocelyn Crist, Milton Hershey School student stands with MHS teacher Victor Gibson while getting hands-on experience.

I can clearly recall the first time I ever picked up a tool to fix something. I got the feeling that my life’s calling was to work in hands on ways to help others. To put it simply, I know that I learn better when I can touch the object I’m working with. This is why sending me to MHS was one of the best decisions my mother ever made for me.

When I enrolled at MHS in sixth grade in the middle of a global pandemic, I wasn’t sure what my future held or what opportunities I would get to learn away from my desk in a classroom. Since then, my classmates and I have gone to Hersheypark to learn about engineering and constructing rollercoasters, discovered new careers with the National Hot Rod Association, and heard from real executives at Ford Motor Company. These are opportunities I never would have gotten before I came to MHS.

Next year, in high school, I will have the opportunity to pick from 12 different career pathways within the school’s Career and Technical Education program. I hope to be able to grow upon my love of automotive technology by gaining certifications and experiences I can use in the field upon graduation. I am excited for internships, real-world learning opportunities, and more that will help me grow beyond classroom lessons.

When I enrolled at MHS, I had the passion to learn by doing and potentially go into the automotive technology field after graduating from MHS. Today, I am learning the skills that will make that dream a reality.

I am proud of my passion for hands-on learning and look forward to seeing where this passion—mixed with the skills I’ve gained at MHS—will take me. What I do with my life will go far beyond affecting just me. It will change the trajectory of generations to come.

Jocelyn Crist, Milton Hershey School student stands with MHS teacher Victor Gibson in a hands-on classroom.

When I grow up, I want to operate my own mechanic shop and help people, just like Milton and Catherine Hershey helped me, by utilizing their business to give back to their community. As a young woman, I’ve been given the ability to break down barriers and choose the career path that best suits me. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to see the world as my classroom and use my skills and passions to carve my own path.

Learn More about Hands-On Exploration at MHS

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.