Milton Hershey School Supports New Students’ Success
Starting at a new school can be overwhelming, which is why Milton Hershey School works to help students make a successful transition.
Through the Helping Our New Enrollees Succeed Together—H.O.N.E.S.T.—program, MHS Senior Division students are supporting new enrollees transition to life in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The program—a student-led initiative within the school’s Student Government Association—prepares welcome packages for each new enrollee that include a water bottle, blanket, t-shirt, and more.
For many new students, moving to a new school, a new community, and potentially a new state, can be challenging, but MHS creates an embracing and welcoming atmosphere as they adjust. In addition to providing gifts, the H.O.N.E.S.T. program pairs Senior Division students with new enrollees to be a support during those first few weeks.
For Brianna Kapel, MHS Senior, and Natalia Miller, MHS Sophomore and new student, this relationship is an important part of acclimating to being a Spartan.
“This program is important because it’ll help new students transition into life at MHS and help them get to know more people and students,” shared Natalia. “By getting to know people quickly it allows students like me to adjust and quickly get used to the culture. This school is a lot bigger than the school I came from.”
Creating a strong infrastructure for student success starts in the first days and weeks that a student joins the MHS community. The H.O.N.E.S.T. program is just one way that new MHS students can create bonds and ties to the peers and adults in their lives.
“The H.O.N.E.S.T. program is a way to mentor new students. We basically help them around school—show them their classrooms, help them figure out their schedules—and really be a go to support for the new students,” shared Brianna. “It’s important to remind new students that they have people around them who support them. It also gives them something to look forward to because it can be hard and stressful those first weeks because you’re missing your family.”
This program, though, is just one way that MHS supports students to become an integrated part of the school.
“The H.O.N.E.S.T. program is a key resource to what MHS does to help our new students transition into the MHS community,” shared Jay Garvey, MHS Family Relations Manager. “All new students participate in what we call New Spartan Academy—a program that MHS provides to help orient students with MHS programs, staff, activities, and more. We want to offer all students the ability to build strong relationships in their first moments at the school because it helps them develop the necessary skills to succeed and reminds them that they are supported.”
Other programs, like H.O.N.E.S.T. such as Mentoring Our Leaders’ Development in Senior Division, Milton’s Middles in Middle Division, and Co-Pilot, in Elementary Division focus on the importance of positive relationships across campus. Students—who often reflect on their own first days at MHS—hope that this program continues to grow to serve more new enrollees across all divisions.
MHS understands the importance of making new students and their families feel welcome and at ease because our community is only as great as the people in it.