MHS Alumna Makes an Impact with Current Students During YRE and Throughout the School Year
Milts share strong bonds that last a lifetime. When alumni return to campus, students learn and grow from their shared experience, even if graduation dates are decades apart.
Milton Hershey School alumna, Toni Allen-King ’88 makes it a priority to return to MHS throughout the year to show support, be an example to current students, and give back to the school that she appreciates so much.
Before enrolling at MHS at age 13, she described her world as being very small. She was shy and didn’t trust anyone. In time, she adjusted to her new world and came to terms with leaving things she loved behind. She was able to open up, find her voice, learn to live and work well with others, and find direction and stability.
It’s the same experience she hopes to share with current students when she is volunteering and working on campus.
Now a science teacher in the School District of Lancaster in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with more than 20 years of teaching experience, she returns each summer as an instructor with the Year-Round Experiences (YRE) program. This summer, Allen-King worked with Senior Division students on projects focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). One lesson involved creating solar ovens to cook s’mores and perfect different designs to make the marshmallow cook just right.
“During YRE, students participate in activities that they may not want to do but are encouraged to try something new. That extra push that students get in YRE helps prepare them to be more well-rounded people,” Allen-King said. “I was excited to plan STEAM lessons this summer because it is also a growing area that leads students into careers that don’t even exist yet.”
Working YRE over the years has allowed Allen-King to align her professional career with giving back to her alma mater.
“Not only can I give back to MHS, I feel like I am showing my mom how much I appreciate her sacrificing her time with me when I was younger,” she continued. “I come back to show students—in my own way—that we all have something to be proud of as we survived the circumstances that made us Milts. None of us should ever feel not good enough to come back and volunteer, because the students need alumni around them.”