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Milton Hershey School Alumnus Joins Fourth-Grade Class as Virtual Guest Speaker

Teachers across the Milton Hershey School campus are incorporating this year’s theme, Our Future in Focus, into classroom activities such as welcome a guest speaker and helping their students stay motivated to focus on their future selves.

One MHS fourth-grade teacher, Danielle Rafferty, is using Morning Meetings to emphasize the theme. She is helping her students get ready for a full day of learning while not losing sight of what they need to do to accomplish their goals.

MHS student with future goals

Her students recently answered two questions: At the end of this year, I want my teacher to describe me as__________. Also, at the end of the year, I want my classmates to describe me as __________.

MHS student with future goals

“We are having discussions about goal setting and the value of having a vision for our future so that our present moment can be filled with purpose and a clear sense of direction,” Rafferty said.

Fourth-grader, Zamira Brown, said, “When I know what I want my future to look like, then I know what I need to do now to be successful then.”

MHS student with future goals

These conversations prompted Rafferty to reach out to an alumnus who could provide advice and encouragement to her class. To protect the health and safety of the MHS community, guest speakers are continuing to make connections with MHS students virtually.

Dan Acevedo ’08 joined the Morning Meeting as a guest speaker via Zoom to answer questions about the future and how he has handled life after MHS. Dan was a former student of Rafferty’s when she worked at MHS as a houseparent.

Dan Acevedo ’08 zooms with fourth grade class

“It’s never too early to work toward your goals,” Dan said. “Your personal connections at MHS will have great impact on your life. Have fun while you’re here and learn everything you can because time goes by too fast.”

This guest speaker meeting was also a lesson in how the student’s connections with trusted adults at MHS last a lifetime.

“I hope this activity helped my students to see that the relationships they make at MHS can have lasting meaning and influence,” Rafferty said.

After the Zoom call, the class discussed who on campus has been a valuable mentor to them and how they can develop that relationship to help them be successful.

Fourth grade class zoom with alum and wave

“We made a list of people and then everyone picked one strategy they could use to get support when they need it,” Rafferty said. “Some ideas were: write them a note, let them know you appreciate something they did, tell someone you trust exactly what you need, etc.”

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.