Milton Hershey School Transition Dinners Prepare Students for New School Year
Milton Hershey School houseparents who will soon welcome new students recently met and shared a meal with those who will be in their care. Transition dinners are held annually before the end of the school year so students feel prepared to embrace their new living situation when they return in August.
This year’s transition dinners were exceptionally exciting for Senior Division students who will are moving into theme homes. This unique approach will group students who share interests, such as Visual and Performing Arts, Home Life programming, and athletics.
MHS Varsity Baseball Coach Sam Kogut is excited for some of his players to move into the two baseball-themed student homes on campus. Kogut believes the approach will build camaraderie among the players and present more opportunities to exercise and practice together during the off season.
“This way, all of the students are doing the same thing at the same time,” Kogut said.
Quamel Whitaker, who will enter 11th-grade in the fall, agrees with his coach’s assessment.
“I am more motivated to stay active when others around me want to exercise,” he said.
Whitaker recently met his new houseparents at student home Iroquois, Phil and Marlene Newcomb, during the school’s transition dinner night.
The Newcombs are excited about leading a theme home. They believe they will be better able to support the students in their care if they are all participating in the same extracurricular activity.
“We really enjoy being part of the students’ lives,” Newcomb said.
The Newcombs are fully embracing becoming baseball houseparents. A display case in the home’s living room includes baseball cards, stadium replicas, bats, caps, magazines, and balls. Students in the MHS Visual Performing Arts program will realize similar benefits from the theme homes.
“We are excited to launch the New Horizons theme homes to build stronger relationships and collaboration opportunities between our students, teachers, and houseparents,” said Dr. Ed Varner, MHS Director of VPA.
The school believes theme homes will foster a stronger sense of belonging, which is aligned with the MHS Sacred Values of commitment to mission, integrity, mutual respect, and positive spirit. Transition dinners are one of many ways MHS houseparents support those in their care. Houseparents provide day-to-day guidance, support, and discipline to children enrolled at MHS.