Elizabeth Cabrera ’14
Elizabeth Cabrera was in eighth grade when her family made the life-changing decision to enroll her at Milton Hershey School. Originally from State College, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth grew up in difficult circumstances and was introduced to the school by her family’s social worker.
“My family was living in poverty, and I had a decent amount of trauma in my past,” Elizabeth said. “There were a lot of difficulties in my life, and at the time, we had a family social worker. She connected me with MHS, and my mom and I decided I should apply.”
When she was accepted to the school and moved to the 12,000-acre campus in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth began living in a student home with a married houseparent couple and eight to 12 girls of similar ages. As she built friendships with her peers and forged connections with adults, they provided support throughout high school and beyond.
“It was a difficult transition [to live at MHS], but I really found my niche in the student home,” Elizabeth shared. “My houseparents were amazing — they were my biggest support system.”
Through her academics and extra-curricular activities, Elizabeth also learned the true meaning of work ethic and discipline. Her drive for excellence and innate understanding of her unique character traits helped her prepare for the college level.
“Milton Hershey School gave me a great education and helped me become so grounded,” she said. “When I got to college, I had a good idea of who I was and what I wanted. I attribute my drive and work ethic to MHS and what the school taught me.”
Elizabeth graduated from MHS in 2014 and went on to Shippensburg University where she received her bachelor’s degree in social work. After being accepted to a one-year, advanced standing program, Elizabeth is currently working toward her master’s degree with the hopes of becoming a licensed clinical social worker.
Thanks to the care and support she received at MHS, along with the close relationship she continues to share with her social worker from childhood, Elizabeth is inspired to help others. She doesn’t view adversity as a limitation, but rather, the force that drives her purpose in life.
“The difficult circumstances I grew up in have shaped me into who I am today,” Elizabeth said. “Milton Hershey School helped me to heal from those life experiences.”