Milton Hershey School Students Spread Kindness at Conference
This month, Milton Hershey School students emphasized the importance of using kind, gentle words during life’s frustrating moments at the school’s first-ever Kindness Conference.
The school’s Student Engagement Team (SET) and Junior Chapel leaders taught fourth grade students how to spread kindness using their hand, head, heart, and words during the conference on Saturday, Feb. 4. Students planned and executed the conference, which featured hands-on and interactive activities.
“Sometimes younger students struggle with understanding the importance of kindness,” Khloe Walker, MHS sophomore and event coordinator, said.
The conference closely aligned with the school’s 2025 strategic plan, also known as the MILT Plan. Older students modeled good character and well-being for their younger peers, helping to them to grow their social and emotional skills. Khloe was especially appreciative that MHS President Peter Gurt ’85 and his wife attended the conference.
In one of the activities, participants tackled a challenge they could experience in everyday life — untying a knot. Students worked in teams to untangle the chaos while remaining calm and positive.
Students spread kindness outside of the conference by writing notes of appreciation to important adults in their lives.
One student’s note read: “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Roth, Thank you for caring for me and my house sisters. Thank you for being so kind to all of us.”
Students also spread kindness to their peers at the conference.
“It was very sweet to see how excited the kids were to share their compliments,” Khloe said.
Sharice Johnson, MHS Coordinator of Staff and Student Engagement, said she was impressed with how older MHS students took charge of the conference.
“They worked with Elementary Division leadership to determine the date, areas of focus, and how the kindness conference should be structured,” Johnson said. “It was very special for me to be able to recognize all of their hard work.”
The conference also yielded an unintended benefit, Johnson added. Junior Chapel Leaders who were not previously part of the Student Engagement Team joined the group to expand their leadership skills.
“They really had a great time during the experience,” Johnson said.
The group plans to make the Kindness Conference an annual event and hopefully expand it to impact even more students. Khloe said she is excited to work on future conferences using lessons learned from this initial endeavor.
“Planning the kindness conference was nerve wracking for me because I wanted it to go well and in the end it did,” she said. “I learned not to be afraid to ask for help because when people come together makes great results.”
Keeping the 2022-23 school year theme, Day 1 … Day WON—which encourages students to set goals and achieve them—top of mind, Khloe added: “The kindness conference was definitely a Day WON.”