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The Class of 2017 Stands United at Commencement Ceremony

It was an exciting and emotional weekend as 194 students in the Class of 2017 received their Milton Hershey School diplomas during the school’s 83rd Commencement ceremony at Giant Center.

Known as the “United Class,” the Class of 2017 gathered together among teachers, staff, family, and friends to celebrate their accomplishments. Senior Jesper Andersson provided the welcome address and motivated his peers to take advantage of the opportunity for a brighter future.

“We all too often lock ourselves into the mentality that only those in ideal circumstances get chances at success,” Jesper said. “Truth be told, there is no universally perfect situation. The most ideal circumstance you can be in is yours right now.”

President Pete Gurt ’85 also addressed the crowd, specifically the Class of 2017, and encouraged them to not only be present, but to follow through on their actions and strive for success in every aspect of their lives.

“We celebrate with you today because you signed up, you showed up, and you have ended up—and ending up is a habit … Now it is your time to rise up,” Gurt said.

The MHS 2017 Alumnus of the Year, Eric Welsh ’84, provided remarks before senior Alondra Isidro closed the ceremony on an inspiring note. She encouraged the crowd to embrace their mistakes and use failure as motivation to change their outcome—similar to founder Milton Hershey who failed multiple times when he first started his chocolate company.

“It is never too late to be the kind of person you want to be. You have the power to change—to change your outlook and your outcome,” Alondra said. “You are not your circumstances and you are not your mistakes. Instead, your mistakes and your circumstances are here to help guide and redefine you.”

As the Class of 2017 joins more than 10,000 MHS alumni, they have bright plans for the future:

  • 66.49 percent—Four-year college
  • 13.92 percent—Two-year college
  • 8.76 percent—Career/technical school
  • 8.25 percent—Workforce
  • 2.58 percent—Military

The Class of 2017 also received various honors and awards that recognize their academic, athletic, leadership, and artistic accomplishments. View the full list of Senior Awards.

To join the celebration, watch a live stream of this year’s Commencement ceremony.

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