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Rebecca Jay ’17

Rebecca Jay ’17 enrolled at Milton Hershey School as a freshman. After spending most of her childhood in foster care she was excited to find a place with stability and opportunity.

While an MHS student, Rebecca was a member of the girls’ cross country and softball teams and participated in SkillsUSA.

As a first-generation, low-income college student, Rebecca found the college application and financial aid process complicated and hard to navigate on her own. Luckily, her resources at MHS, like the college and career counselors, were able to guide her through the process, relieving her of some of the stress and pressure she felt. Rebecca is currently attending Susquehanna University. She is a dual major, studying Spanish language and education.

Rebecca is grateful that during her time at MHS, her mentors, teachers, and houseparents instilled in her the value of time management, something that she sees many of her peers struggle with in college. It is the skills and relationships she gained at MHS that have truly carried her through college thus far.

“The Graduate Programs for Success (GPS) Division and the faculty, in general, are very supportive and are always just a phone call or text away,” shared Rebecca. “I still keep in contact with many of my teachers from MHS and they are always willing to give advice or lend a hand.”

Rebecca understands the importance of communicating with the GPS Division as a young graduate. She keeps in contact with her transition support specialist when she needs help or is doing well and in turn, they encourage and assist her whenever needed.

Rebecca has remained close with a number of her teachers and admissions counselors from MHS. She finds these relationships to give her strength as she faces challenges during college. “One of my favorite teachers at MHS became more than a teacher, she also became my mentor, inspiring me to study languages and education. I am so grateful to have her support during college,” she said.

Over the past two years, Rebecca has faced many challenges including a rigorous course load of 18 to 19 credits each semester while working full-time. While staying busy is not new to Rebecca, who at MHS was involved in many activities, she found it challenging to balance time to rest with her academic and work schedules.

“One of the best things I have learned from college so far is to use your time wisely and to never forget that using some of that time to relax is important,” said Rebecca. “College is not easy. It can be stressful, tiring, and discouraging sometimes, but if you use your resources and branch out, you can reach and pass any limit you set.”

College has allowed Rebecca to take part in things she’s never had the chance to do before. In July 2019, Rebecca flew to Chile to begin her semester abroad — marking her first time on a plane and her first time leaving the United States. She is excited about this new adventure and all that will come with it, something she couldn’t have done without support from her mentors and the GPS Division.

Moving forward, Rebecca is excited to continue her journey in college and figure out the next step she’ll take to begin her career. While she isn’t sure exactly what she wants to do when she graduates in 2021, she is certain that she wants to impact the lives of young people, just like she was impacted by the caring, dedicated, and supportive staff at MHS.

“There are so many things I want to explore, but overall, my main goal is to be the person I needed when I was a child. I want to be the calm in all of the chaos that children who were born into circumstances like my own experience every day,” shared Rebecca.

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. View full Equal Opportunity Policy.