Skip to content

One Community, One Mission, One Campaign

One Campaign to Inspire Thousands

More than a century since its founding, Milton Hershey School provides the resources and support to inspire its more than 2,100 students to find success. The Breakthrough campaign was designed to tell this story with the goals to:

  • Inspire students and staff to create and achieve Breakthrough goals by shattering real and perceived barriers.
  • Strengthen engagement between staff, students, alumni, parents/sponsors, and community members.
  • Create a sense of belonging for students around a shared goal.
Video Poster

Four Months, Many Milestones

The Breakthrough campaign is designed to thrive from August 2023 – June 2024. The first half of the campaign (August-December 2023) saw incredible success and positive results.


The 2023 Opening of School Celebration kicked off on Aug. 13 with a professional magician and drone show, which showcased landmarks from across campus and MHS logos. The next morning, nearly 5,000 members of the school community gathered at GIANT Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania to celebrate the start of a Breakthrough year. The 2023 Opening of School Assembly included 5,000 Breakthrough-branded chocolate bars, 5,000 light-up bracelets, 30 live on-stage participants, seven videos, one LED logo, one original song, one campaign-themed van unveiling, and much more.

Watch the Event

Before Dec. 31, 2023, the livestream of the event had been viewed more than 1,000 times.

Video Poster


Following the event, MHS launched an external webpage (6,017 page views by Dec. 31) and annual Spotify playlist (93 saves by Dec. 31), in addition to a robust communications and giveaway distribrution plan.

View the Campaign PageListen to the Spotify Playlist

Driving Engagement

Founder’s Birthday Celebration

Breakthrough was woven into the celebration of MHS founder Milton S. Hershey’s birthday at Hersheypark (Sept. 11). The event featured a life-size Breakthrough balloon structure for attendees to use as a photo backdrop and several “Happy Birthday,” banners with Breakthrough imagery.

See Photos from the Celebration

Homecoming Weekend

Compared to years past, Breakthrough came to life in new ways for alumni during Homecoming Weekend (Sept. 21-23). Most enhanced was the annual Homecoming Banquet–which resulted in the highest number of attendees (nearly 1,000) in recent years. The event included video presentations, remarks, a Breakthrough-branded step-and-repeat banner, campaign-themed presentation elements, and a never-before-seen music video with an original song.

Video Poster

Founders Week

Each year, the MHS community celebrates the signing of the Deed of Trust that created the school—known as Founders Week (Nov. 6-13). While the annual school year campaign always plays a role in engaging stakeholders during this celebration, this time was more enhanced than ever before. By way of an all-school assembly, campus-wide feast, and Keyhole sculpture dedication ceremony, students and staff were inspired to achieve a Breakthrough moment, just like MHS founders Mr. and Mrs. Hershey did.

See Photos from Founders Week

Inspiring Change


One of the organizational communication tools MHS utilizes are e-blasts from school leadership to communicate and motivate action. Between August and December 2023, the MHS Office of Communications and Marketing deployed 5 e-blasts to staff, alumni, parents/sponsors, and community partners. On average, these e-blasts had a 20% higher open rate compared to the same timeframe in 2022. In celebration of the holiday season, MHS included a special video of students and staff wishing the community a happy holiday season in their Breakthrough sweatshirts.

Video Poster


Creating Belonging

To generate excitement around the campaign and create a sense of belonging, MHS created several giveaways for students and staff. The list includes:

  • Campaign-themed notebooks (200 gifted)
  • Hersheypark- and Breakthrough-branded t-shirts (3,000 gifted)
  • Keyhole-shaped Croc jibitz (2,500 gifted)
  • Breakthrough-themed sweatshirts (4,000 gifted)
  • Tree ornaments (400 gifted)

Milton Hershey School Breakthrough croc jibit

a group of people posing for a photo

Grassroots Approach

MHS provided its community with assets to bring the Breakthrough campaign to life in classrooms, student homes, student and staff programs, and more. Options included:

  • Wallpapers for desktops, iPads, and mobile devices
  • Posters
  • Graphics

See the GraphicsSee Photos

Milton Hershey School Hersheypark sign

Breakthrough Beyond MHS

Milton S. Hershey was a man of intention. He created a town and a school with the power of community in mind. This school year, our Breakthrough campaign came to life at Hersheypark—a nationally-awarded amusement park and an MHS partner organization.

Read More about Our Community Partnerships
Milton Hershey School graduate stands in front of the Keyhole at the entrance to campus.

Greatest Breakthrough is Yet to Come

Breakthrough will culminate at the MHS Commencement ceremony—also held at GIANT Center on June 9, 2024—where 200 seniors will achieve their greatest milestone yet.

Learn More about MHS Graduate Outcomes

Additional Resources

Milton Hershey School mascot, Sparty, dances after the 2022 Opening of School Assembly.

Inspiring Through the Years

Milton Hershey School students participate in Graduate Programs for Success Division.

Explore the Experience

Milton Hershey School student stands with a Dickinson College sweatshirt on.

Life after 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.