Sesay Bayoh ’12
Sesay Bayoh ’12 enrolled at Milton Hershey School from Maryland after a lack of stability led her and her family to seek better opportunities.
While at MHS, Sesay was a leader in the Student Government Association and a number of other organizations before graduating in 2012. After her graduation, Sesay attended Delaware State University before eventually transferring to Messiah College where she received her degree in human services in 2016.
Upon her graduation from college, she spent a year back in Maryland before she decided to apply for a position with the Transitional Living (TL) program at MHS. “I think a lot of times there is a negative connotation when it comes to alumni coming back to work at MHS so young,” she shared. “I decided to apply because it was a great opportunity after I graduated from college; I needed stability and a job.”
On July 17, 2017, Sesay began her new position as a Transitional Living Assistant (TLA) in the TL program at MHS. She hoped that she could have as much of an impact on her students as her TL staff had on her while she was a student. “My TL staff had a big impact on me,” she said. “I lost my mom during my senior year of high school and my TL staff went above and beyond to make sure to help me in any way that they could. They drove me to the hospital just so I could see her before she passed.”
She also knew that the impact she could have on her students would be unique. As an MHS graduate, she understands what it is like to live as an MHS student while dealing with the hard and sometimes traumatic experiences of the past.
“MHS may teach students a certain thing, but we eventually go back to our environments. I try to give my students insight into how to navigate some of the difficulties and challenges of being in those types of environments so that they can succeed,” Sesay said.
As a TL staff member, Sesay works alongside two other staff members to guide a group of 20 senior girls through their senior year. She helps to facilitate weekly meetings focused on teaching valuable life skills to the girls so that they are prepared as possible to go into college, the military, or the world of work. Much of her job is focused on having deep, in-depth, and insightful conversations with her students as she helps them to develop problem-solving skills that they will carry with them long after they leave her care.
Sesay tries every day to make sure her students know she cares and understands what they are going through. “As an alumna, I try to understand my students and where they are coming from. Being an MHS student is hard because not only are you trying to navigate school but also situations going on at home,” she shared. “I try to remember my time as a student and respond to students in a way I know is going to be most effective.”
Understanding that being a TL staff member is not a job but a lifestyle is one thing Sesay reminds all people thinking about applying for a job in the TL program.
“As a TL staff member, you often have to remember that it’s not all about you. The job cannot become a routine to you because it is the students that are losing out, not you,” she said. “Some days are going to be hard and sometimes you’re going to be tired, but you have the chance to do something really valuable and rewarding.”
Every morning when she begins her day, she looks forward to joking around with her students and gaining strong and lasting relationships with them. “Whenever I come back on duty after my days off, I’m met with girls wanting to tell me about everything that has happened to them in the last three days and I love having those conversations,” shared Sesay. “I love being a part of their journey.”
Sesay acknowledges the impact that MHS has had in her life and is extremely grateful for the opportunities she gained as a student and the opportunities she now has to pay it forward as part of a larger network of alumni.
To our founders Milton and Catherine Hershey, Sesay says thank you and hopes that she can impact the lives of MHS students as they did more than 110 years ago.