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A Spark of Holiday Magic

By Josi, a senior at MHS

On Aug. 2, 2008, I walked into a dome building that consisted of high ceilings, marble flooring, huge chandeliers, and hundreds of people. As I walked alongside my family, I heard my brother whisper in my ear, “This looks just like Hogwarts!” Hogwarts was a school of magic, and Harry Potter enrolled at the school as a result of his background. Similarly, I walked into Milton Hershey School on that day because of my background.

Harry Potter was left with a physical scar because of his family—I was left with an emotional one because of how I had grown up. That day as a fourth-grade student, I walked into my Hogwarts: Milton Hershey School.

I began to heal emotionally and shift my vision from one of disparity to one of hope. I didn’t realize it then, but as a senior about to graduate, I realize now that MHS has its own spark of magic.

img_5793As we approach the Christmas season, the magic at MHS is even more prevalent. And just as the magic of MHS changed my life, it now continues to change others. During the holidays, the MHS staff work their own bit of magic—MHS makes sure that any student who doesn’t go home for the holidays has gifts and enjoys a special day on campus.

As a child, Christmas for me was about the presents. Now, because of Mr. Hershey, it has become not only the season to get gifts but the season to give them.

Mr. Hershey gave his entire fortune so students like me could have a chance to be successful—and that single gift has changed my life forever.

“Thank you.”

It’s a phrase used most of the time to be polite, but I want to say “thank you” to really show my appreciation.

I’m thankful to those who have given so much to me. Thank you to the staff at MHS who have provided me with support and encouragement when I needed it most. Thank you to my peers who have become more than classmates—you’re my family. Thank you to alumni who come back and share your experiences. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Gurt who continue to fulfill Mr. and Mrs. Hershey’s vision and became my mentors. And thank you,  Milton and Catherine Hershey, for changing my life.

During this holiday season, I encourage others to embrace the holiday spirit and to give. Share a spark of your own holiday magic by giving to others and by saying “thank you” to those who give to you.


Josi enrolled at MHS in fourth grade from Curwensville, Pennsylvania. 

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.