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MHS Students Develop Character and Leadership Skills at Fifth Annual Leadership Conference

On Saturday, Nov. 3, Milton Hershey School’s Student Government Association (SGA) hosted its fifth annual high school leadership conference. MHS staff, alumni, local and state lawmakers, and business leaders from The Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, and other organizations volunteered to lead breakout sessions.

MHS high school leadership conference

The theme of this year’s leadership conference was “The Act of Giving.” More than 200 high school students attended the event and throughout each breakout session, they learned how to:

  • Follow their passions and invest in themselves to drive their leadership potential
  • Understand and embrace servant leadership
  • Connect with others
  • Get involved in the community
  • Stay positive and work as a team
  • Design projects and create actionable strategic plans
  • Find their purpose and the principles they believe in

Fifth annual MHS leadership conference

“[The conference] is a great opportunity for students to learn more about leadership—how to manage themselves and how to manage their lives,” said Portia Cruz, an MHS junior and member of the SGA Conference Committee. “It’s important for us to hear that one thing that might click in our minds and spark a fire in our brains that will drive us to success.”

Bernard Hopkins, a retired professional boxer, served as the keynote speaker and inspired students by sharing his powerful story of adversity after growing up in one of the most crime-ridden areas of Philadelphia.

Bernard Hopkins, keynote speaker at MHS leadership conference

Allegheny County Councilman Tom Baker served as the closing keynote speaker and empowered students to follow their passions, get involved in the community, and pursue their dreams.

“Every morning when you wake up, you have the opportunity to say ‘why not me?’” Baker said during his closing remarks. “Somebody is going to achieve the things at Milton Hershey School that you hope to achieve. So why not you? Why shouldn’t you be the person to pursue your dreams and dream big?”

Fifth annual MHS leadership conference

Each year, MHS high school students plan and execute the conference featuring adult community leaders to help their peers strengthen their character and leadership skills.

View more photos from the event:


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.