Then and Now: MHS Founders Week Traditions
When creating the Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School), Milton and Catherine Hershey knew they wanted to help children and families in need. They communicated their vision for the home and school in the Deed of Trust signed on Nov. 15, 1909. Founders Week has been celebrated at MHS for over 113 years.
The Junior-Senior High School (now Catherine Hall) was dedicated on Nov. 15, 1934, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the school’s founding. One year later, the first official Founders Day was held. In 1937, Milton S. Hershey hosted a special dinner for teachers, administrators, and the Board of Managers in commemoration.
After Milton Hershey passed away on Oct. 13, 1945, an oak tree was planted in his memory. The Class of 1957 was the first senior class to participate in an annual tree planting tradition, which has continued through the present day during Founders Week. Each tree planted there features a bronze plaque with the class year so graduates can visit their tree when they come back to campus.
More than fifty years ago, the dedication of Founders Hall on Sept. 13, 1970, created a lasting tribute to the founders and established a new tradition of observing Founders Day with a community-wide event in the auditorium. This year, the MHS community gathered on Monday, Nov. 6 for a Founders Day Assembly that inspired students to use the gift that MHS founders gave them to make a positive impact on the world.
The Founders Feast, a newer tradition where the MHS family shares a special meal together, will be held on Sunday, Nov. 12 and feature Milton Hershey’s favorite foods and include a senior pinning ceremony.