Growing up in Queens, New York, Christian Calle ’09 dreamed of a brighter future. He knew he wanted to attend college, but he wasn’t sure if the opportunity would happen. When his best friend enrolled at Milton Hershey School, Christian kept in touch and continued learning about the opportunities available at the private school for students from low-income families. In fifth grade, Christian encouraged his mom to help him apply.
“Even at an early age, I knew, with my situation at home, there was no way I was going to go to college,” he said. “I knew for me to be successful, I needed to take advantage of this opportunity. I kept telling my mom, ‘keep applying, keep applying.’”
It took several years, but on August 1, 2005, Christian’s dream came true—he enrolled as a freshman at Milton Hershey School.
Throughout his time at MHS, Christian worked hard and took advantage of every opportunity presented to him, especially in the Construction/Carpentry career pathway through the school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. It was in those classes that Christian discovered his future career.
Christian currently works as an assistant project manager at a construction company based in New York City. The company works with different agencies to build homes for low- to middle-income families. It’s a position that allows him to give back to others who come from similar backgrounds and struggles.
“The main values the school instilled in us—commitment to mission, integrity, positive spirit, and mutual respect—those are values that I cherish,” he said. “Those values have helped me develop and grow as a professional and as a person.”
While at MHS, Christian developed his hunger to learn and has continued to stay dedicated to his education and experiential learning. After earning a bachelor’s degree in residential construction management from the Pennsylvania School of Technology, this fall, he’s pursuing a master’s degree in construction management from Stevens Institute of Technology.
In April 2018, Christian returned to MHS and shared his knowledge and inspiration with current MHS students during the school’s annual career fair.
“It’s important to give back [to MHS] because I never saw myself in a position to help people when I was young,” Christian shared. “Growing up after MHS, there was a lot of uncertainty about my future, where I didn’t know what I wanted to make of myself. So, to be able to come back and help students means a lot to me.”
Christian also encourages younger MHS students to look for opportunity in the challenging moments and to never give up on their dreams.
“My motivation was not having much of anything, but maintaining a hunger and drive for success,” he said. “That is how I made it here. I grew as a person. I learned to be a better person and friend. I’m lucky and blessed to have attended MHS. I really credit my success to the school.”
MHS Success Stories
At Milton Hershey School, the success of our alumni is immeasurable. Thousands of Milts are making their own footprints on the world as productive contributors to society. Our graduates serve an important role in the MHS family as role models for generations to come. Learn more about our accomplished alumni by reading their inspiring Success Stories.