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Training for Hills

By Clare Ogle, an MHS houseparent

Our student home is located on top of a hill. We have a great view and our basement doesn’t flood when it rains. It’s wonderful living on top of a hill…well, for the most part. You see, I run multiple times a week and often run from my house.  So as I head down my driveway and turn left, I get started on a nice downhill. It makes getting started much easier.

However, almost every time I come back to my house, I come the same way I left…only on the way back, I have to go UP the hill to get back to my house.

No matter how much I want that hill to not be there when I get to the end of my run, that hill is ALWAYS there. And I don’t want the hill to go away, I want to train to run and tackle the hill well.

This is also true of some of the circumstances we go though in life.  Sure, some “hills” in life are a one-time thing. Like studying hard for a tough test and then passing it, once and done. However, there are other “hills” in our lives that stick around for much longer periods of time. Struggling with homesickness, a broken relationship, or the loss of a loved one. Some of these situations affect us in deep way for a long time.

Rather than wish them away, perhaps we need to make sure that we are trained well to navigate them. As houseparents it’s important that we equip our students with the training and tools they need to deal with all the different types of hills in their lives.  We need to make sure they know how to process their feelings, express themselves, and work through conflict.

Each month every student home on campus focuses on a different Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) topic. The topics range from Diversity to Self Esteem, from Conflict Resolution to Overcoming Personal and Emotional Challenges.  Students are taught and trained in these areas using hands on activities, movies, discussions, and even games.  This helps them train for those hills that are already in their lives and the ones that are sure to come up as they get older.

Hopefully as they run the race of life they will realize that these hills are not just obstacles that are tough, but that they are also strength builders.  And hopefully, they will take time when they reach the top of their hill to enjoy the view and bask in the glory of meeting a challenge strong, well trained, and ready to tackle the next hill.

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.