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MHS Community Pays Tribute to Milton and Catherine Hershey During Annual Founders Week Assembly

During the 2018 Founders Week Assembly, the Milton Hershey School community gathered to reflect on founders Milton and Catherine Hershey and celebrate the school that more than 2,000 students call home. The assembly marked the beginning of Founders Week—a week-long, school-wide tradition that commemorates the Hersheys’ timeless vision and generosity.

“Mr. Hershey had no idea his school would be in existence 109 years after it started…but what he did know was that his intentions were pure and he would never meet the thousands of people who would benefit from his generosity,” said MHS President Pete Gurt ’85 as he spoke to the student body. “Your success is the best ‘thank you’ [the Hersheys] could ever receive.”

To pay tribute to the Hersheys’ gift and the school’s long-lasting history, the Senior Division New Horizons Choir gave heartfelt performances of “Respect” and “The Candy Man.”

2018 Founders Week Assembly

During the assembly, MHS alumna  Barbara Polk ’84 served as a keynote speaker and shared how the Hersheys’ gift impacted her life. She encouraged students to pursue the possibilities ahead of them and created an action plan for how students can show gratitude to others.

“So many people have sacrificed for me, helped me when I was down and showed me, love when I didn’t think I was worthy of it,” Polk said. “With the generosity, I experienced as a student at MHS, I have no choice but to live a life of gratitude and to pay it forward. The world needs all of you to show your gratitude to others and to live intentionally.”

MHS alumna Barbara Polk

Another tradition that occurs throughout Founders Week is the tree-planting ceremony. MHS seniors in the Class of 2019 planted a tree outside Founders Hall to symbolize the legacy they are leaving on campus and the life-changing opportunities they received from the Hersheys.

“The tree is a gift to our founders and a pledge that as seniors finish out their year…they will represent a class that will give and give and give,” said MHS Principal Bob Ebert.

Senior tree-planting ceremony

Watch a live stream recording of the assembly and view photos below:



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.