Milton Hershey School Promotes Literacy and Career Exploration by Hosting Go R.E.D. Reading Night with Alumni
Milton S. Hershey had a deep passion for reading that he learned from his father, Henry. For more than 110 years, Milton Hershey School has carried on its cofounder’s legacy of instilling a love for reading and literacy in the students we serve.
Each year, the MHS curriculum and instruction team partners with the school’s alumni relations department to host an annual Go R.E.D. (Read Every Day) Family Reading Night—an event that helps to promote literacy in elementary-aged students. MHS alumni come back to campus to read books that showcase their career path to groups of students. This year, the readers also were encouraged to come dressed as the career they were reading about.
MHS has hosted this event for more than nine years with hundreds of alumni. Unable to have an in-person event last year, this is the first time that the event has been held in person for almost two years—bringing quite the anticipation from participants.
“Events like Go R.E.D. help students learn about what’s out there for them after graduation,” shared Austin Shay ’13, who currently runs his own arts and education nonprofit. “Coming back to read to the students gives me a chance to give back to my community. I love being able to watch the progression of MHS students as they grow. Before we know it, these elementary students will be seniors, ready to embark on their next chapter.”
More than 20 alumni participated this year, and many student homes came to enjoy the evening in their matching pajamas. This event is another way that MHS connects students with alumni, while also exploring different career opportunities. The event serves as a kickoff for the summer reading program that students in first through fourth grade participate in.
“I love coming back to MHS to connect with my houseparents and teachers—some of whom have known me for more than 30 years,” shared Mbalu (Lulu) Tunis ’04, who currently works for Ikea, training call center employees. “When I come back to events like this, I can meet current students and share what life is like after MHS. I hope I can impart wisdom that it’s more than just going to college and having a successful career. I want to share my journey with them.”