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First day of school photo in the 50s

MHS First Day of School Photos Throughout the Decades

When it comes to the first day of school, some things never change. Throughout the decades, the first day of school is traditionally filled with new routines, new classrooms, new school supplies, new teachers, and the chance to make new friends. It’s the time to create new goals, continue building on past ones, and forge your path for the upcoming year.

While the energy and anticipation for the first day of school haven’t changed over the years, the photos certainly have. Take a look at what the first day of school has looked like at Milton Hershey School throughout history!


Fourth-graders during the 1930s

Twenty years after the first students enrolled at Milton Hershey School, these fourth-grade students enjoyed traditional school desks and chalkboards—and thrived in a safe, structured environment.


Fifth-graders during the 1940s

A group of fifth-graders from the class of 1946-47 are pictured outside on the school’s tree-lined campus. Mr. Hershey’s close relationship with nature was something he hoped the students in his care would grow to appreciate as well.


Kindergarten students in the 1950s

This kindergarten class was full of laughs and excitement on the first day of the 1955-56 school year.


First-grade students in the 1960s

As eager and impressionable first-graders, the start of the 1963-64 school year was a chance for these elementary students to begin forming lifelong friendships. Many MHS alumni credit the school with giving them an unwavering family and support system.


Fifth-graders during the 1970s

In 1977, the school welcomed its first female students to campus. A few of the female students are pictured in this fifth-grade class on the first day of the 1977-78 school year.


First-graders during the 1980s

Full of color and smiles, these first-graders celebrated the start of the 1988-89 school year.


Fourth-graders during the 1990s

On the first day of the 1997-98 school year, these fourth-graders explored their classroom and prepared for a year filled with enrichment and learning.


First day of school in 2009-10

Many of these students who were enthusiastic kindergarteners at the start of the 2009-10 school year are now freshmen at the high school today. They are considered “lifers,” a term used to honor MHS students who enrolled in pre-k, kindergarten or first grade and successfully graduate from the school.

Present Day

Children and Teachers reciting the pledge of allegience

Today, the first day of school is an exciting time for the MHS community to come together for the annual Opening of School Assembly. The 2018 Opening of School Assembly empowered students and staff to reflect on the gift Milton and Catherine Hershey created more than 100 years ago and consider how they can give back to their own communities using gratitude, intent, vision, and enthusiasm.

Elementary schoolers' first day of school

Middle schoolers' first day of school

Milt Memories History Blog

MHS Department of School History works hard to preserve the Hersheys’ values and students’ cherished memories through articles, photos, interviews and artifacts.  Follow along with our monthly blog series focused entirely on the fascinating school history and inspiring work of our founders.

Read More Milt Memories Posts

Human Resources
P.O. Box 830
Hershey, PA 17033-0830

(717) 520-2000
(800) 322-3248

GPS: East Governor Road & Meadow Lane


Founders Hall
P.O. Box 830
Hershey, PA 17033-0830

(717) 520-2000
(800) 322-3248

GPS: East Governor Road & Meadow Lane


Enrollment Management Center
430 East Governor Road
Hershey, PA 17033

(800) 322-3248


665 Brook Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

(717) 520-2808