Johsian Concepcion Conner ’16
As an eighth-grader from Bethlehem, PA, Johsian Concepcion Conner ’16 enrolled at Milton Hershey School and took advantage of the opportunity to discover his passion and set clear goals for himself.
“[My family] wanted me to have a better future and an opportunity to go to college for a wider education,” he said.
As Johsian got used to living in student homes with kids of similar ages, but different ethnic backgrounds, he also learned about structure and time management—skills that stuck with him after graduation.
“Chores were new to me, and I wasn’t used to a set schedule,” he said. “It was challenging at first, but time management at MHS helped me make sure I [completed tasks] on time and taught me how to set up a timeline for myself.”
When Johsian entered high school, he had the opportunity to choose from 11 different career concentrations in the school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. He joined the Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management Services pathway and gained hands-on skills that prepared him for a future culinary career.
“I think it really helped me prepare and taught me the basic skills I needed to work in a kitchen,” Johsian said. “Some of the stuff I learned in [college], I had already learned at MHS.”
During high school, Johsian also gained valuable experience in the workplace through MHS internship and co-op programs. He worked at The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge, where he saw firsthand what it was like to work in a professional kitchen.
“Those experiences gave me a wider [understanding] of what the culinary field is like,” he said. “I learned about buffets, worked an omelet station, learned how to work on the line, and saw how to run a kitchen. I like seeing and knowing that people enjoy my food.”
After graduating from MHS in 2016, Johsian returned to the Bethlehem area and enrolled in a year-long culinary program at Northampton Community College. He continues to expand his knowledge and gain professional experience by working in his instructor’s restaurant when he’s not in the classroom. Johsian plans to graduate in August of 2017.
“My chef told me I have potential and that he sees me being a leader,” he said. “With Milton Hershey School’s help, I have the knowledge and I know what to do. My future looks way better than it did before MHS.”
Top photo courtesy of Northampton Community College.