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Happy Founders Day: Celebrating the Hersheys' Gift

This post first appeared on MHSKids.org.

On this Founders Day, the Milton Hershey School (MHS) community celebrates 109 years of generosity. It was on this day in 1909 that Milton and Catherine Hershey established our school and signed the Deed of Trust, creating a timeless gift and vision that amazed the world.

This week, MHS gathered as a community and reflected on the Hersheys' legacy at its annual Founders Feast and Founders Week Assembly. Their gratitude, intent, vision, and enthusiasm continue to inspire the more than 2,000 students on campus and the more than 10,000 graduates who have benefited from their gift. 

Happy Founders Day!

MHS Community Pays Tribute to Milton and Catherine Hershey During Annual Founders Week Assembly

During the 2018 Founders Week Assembly, the Milton Hershey School community gathered to reflect on founders Milton and Catherine Hershey and celebrate the school that more than 2,000 students call home. The assembly marked the beginning of Founders Week—a week-long, schoolwide tradition that commemorates the Hersheys’ timeless vision and generosity.

Mr. Hershey had no idea his school would be in existence 109 years after it started…but what he did know was that his intentions were pure and he would never meet the thousands of people who would benefit from his generosity. Your success is the best ‘thank you’ [the Hersheys] could ever receive.
MHS President Pete Gurt ’85, as he spoke to the student body

To pay tribute to the Hersheys’ gift and the school’s long-lasting history, the Senior Division New Horizons Choir gave heartfelt performances of “Respect” and “The Candy Man.”

During the assembly, MHS alumna Barbara Polk ’84 served as keynote speaker and shared how the Hersheys’ gift impacted her life. She encouraged students to pursue the possibilities ahead of them and created an action plan for how students can show gratitude to others.

“So many people have sacrificed for me, helped me when I was down, and showed me love when I didn’t think I was worthy of it,” Polk said. “With the generosity I experienced as a student at MHS, I have no choice but to live a life of gratitude and to pay it forward. The world needs all of you to show your gratitude to others and to live intentionally.”

Another tradition that occurs throughout Founders Week is the tree-planting ceremony. MHS seniors in the Class of 2019 planted a tree outside Founders Hall to symbolize the legacy they are leaving on campus and the life-changing opportunities they received from the Hersheys.

The tree is a gift to our founders and a pledge that as seniors finish out their year…they will represent a class that will give and give and give.
MHS Principal Bob Ebert

Watch a live stream recording of the assembly and view photos below: