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Milton Hershey School Empowered to Give Back at 2018 Opening of School Assembly

On Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, the Milton Hershey School community came together to celebrate the first day of the 2018-19 school year at the annual   Opening of School Assembly. MHS students and staff reflected on the gift Milton and Catherine Hershey created more than 100 years ago and learned how they can give back to their own communities using gratitude, intent, vision, and enthusiasm.

“Milton and Catherine Hershey’s vision was shaped by the sum of their small efforts, repeated day in and day out,” said MHS President Pete Gurt ’85. “They had no idea their vision would create all this—they started by helping only four children.”

Through inspirational videos, music, and live speeches, students, staff, and alumni of all ages reflected on how they have used the Hersheys’ legacy to find ways to give back to communities across the world. MHS senior Gabby Lugo and freshman Kya Han spoke about their life-changing experiences traveling to both Thailand and Fayette County, Pennsylvania through the school’s Multicultural and Global Education program.

MHS freshman Leah Baker-Fowler described her gratitude and intent to make a difference through her family-run cupcake business. She encouraged the MHS community to find their own ways to make an impact, just like Milton and Catherine Hershey.

“[The Hersheys] experienced failures, they had setbacks, and there were plenty of critics. None of that stopped them,” Gurt said. “Their enthusiasm gave them the energy they needed to see their vision become reality.”

MHS alumnus Terry Donaher and his wife Sarah spoke about their intent to become houseparents at MHS and how they hope to help the elementary students in their home appreciate the Hersheys’ vision.

President Gurt also recognized more than 180 new students who recently enrolled at MHS and motivated the fourth-grade, eighth-grade, and senior classes to lead by example and find ways to help others, act with enthusiasm, and rise up across campus.

“You may not be able to help thousands initially, so start by helping one—a new student, a classmate, your roommate, a stranger,” Gurt said. “Get in the habit of helping others, and you will soon realize that you are changing the world with one small action at a time.”

Alumna Tiffany Gonzalez ’05 kept the crowd energized by serving as the DJ throughout the assembly. MHS cheerleaders also took center stage during the finale to celebrate the start of the school year and the school’s commitment to giving back in big and small ways.

View photos from this year’s assembly.

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.