The Impact of Mentorship at Milton Hershey School
Milton Hershey School is the largest residential pre-K through 12th grade school in the country, providing a home-away-from-home for over 2,000 students every year. To create a family-like atmosphere, MHS staff members and students are encouraged to participate in a mentorship program and build lasting relationships beyond graduation.
Mentorship can help students of all ages feel confident, supported, and motivated. According to MENTOR, a national mentoring organization, “Young adults with a mentor are 55% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.”
“My mentees are my family,” said Paul Gaspich, MHS teacher and coach. “They’re a family for me while I’m here at MHS, and I want them to know that I will be there for them throughout their lives to celebrates their successes.”
MHS provides several mentorship opportunities in its three scholastic divisions such as the Co-Pilot mentoring program in Elementary Division, the new Milton’s Middles mentoring program in Middle Division, and the M.O.L.D. mentoring program in Senior Division.
“I joined the M.O.L.D. program to connect with new staff members here at MHS,” said Jose Aviles, MHS high school student. “The M.O.L.D. program helps build lasting relationships that continue on for years to come.”
For new students, the MHS mentorship programs provide an opportunity to build first touch points and important relationships at the school.
“This program creates a bond between faculty and students that becomes a support system that we rely on,” said Thooria Olaoye, MHS high school student. “I’m completely new here and got involved to get to know the community and find a support system.”
MHS alumna, Ododo Walsh ’98, became a mentor to serve as an adult who can personally relate to our students. During her time at the school, students formed informal mentor-mentee relationships, but Ododo is thankful MHS now offers formal programming that intentionally connects students with trusted adults.
“I really do believe in the power of one,” Walsh said. “I believe in the power of relationships, the power of support, and just being that person there for the happy times and also to provide encouragement in the challenging times.”
Mentoring Youth Matters at Milton Hershey School
January is National Mentoring Month, but at MHS, healthy relationships between students and staff make the school “Greater Together” year-round.