Hersheypark Teaches Milton Hershey School Students about Roller Coaster Construction
Brad Kirkham, Hersheypark’s director of engineering, recently asked Milton Hershey School first-grader Montana Sackett how tall the Park’s newest roller coaster, Wildcat’s Revenge, stands.
“Twenty feet,” the child said with a wide smile on her face.
“Not quite,” Kirkham responded while applauding her enthusiasm. Wildcat’s Revenge is 140 feet tall and the latest attraction at the 117-year-old Pennsylvania amusement park.
Kirkham took time out of his day to explain to Montana and her housemates from MHS Student Home Green Acres the process Rocky Mountain Construction uses to build the wood and steel hybrid roller coaster. The presentation was part of Career Mondays, a series of workshops that expose students to a variety of career paths across the MHS campus and entity partners, including Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R).
Kirkham explained to the students that wooden roller coasters must be inspected daily to ensure safety. He showed them various tools used to build roller coasters, including screws, bolts, and nails. Kirkham also stressed the importance of following safety protocols on the job site, such as wearing a hard hat, sturdy boots, and bright colors. He encouraged students to study hard in school because engineers must earn a college degree.
When the Wildcat’s Revenge opens this summer, riders will hit max speeds of 62 mph, dive into an 82-degree drop, invert four times, and stalk their prey through the World’s Largest Underflip on three custom trains.
“Sheesh, that’s scary,” Montana said.
Wildcat’s Revenge riders must be at least 48 inches tall, or a Hershey’s Bar according to the Park’s candy-themed height chart. After Kirkham’s presentation, the MHS students ran over to the chart to see if they were tall enough to ride the roller coaster. Some were. Those who were a step below, said they hope to grow a few inches before the ride opens this summer.
Hershey entity partners and the greater Hershey community provide many exciting opportunities for MHS students. The entire HE&R team supports the school through building personal relationships and mentoring, offering paid internships for students and recent graduates, volunteering at campus events, attending MHS athletic and performing arts events, and offering career-focused programming.