I Have 12,000+ Brothers and Sisters
Our core purpose at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) is to provide value to Milton Hershey School (MHS), the largest home and school in the world, as it continues to provide opportunities for children in need.
HE&R provides both financial and human support in countless ways; one of which is an internship program. Liza, a senior at MHS, spent time with the Communications teams this past summer. While she was interning with the Communications Team, she had the opportunity to write for Stories.HersheyPA.com.
The past, present and future of MHS thrive from one goal—to help and support children in need—as outlined in the Deed of Trust by the school’s founders, Milton and Catherine Hershey. The school has about 10,000 graduates and more than 2,000 currently enrolled. The MHS community considers each other as a family. Every “Milt” is a brother and sister to one another, who can help and relate through the MHS experience.
Experience, Opportunity, and Perseverance. Looking back on past trials and tribulations I think we all can agree that everything happens for a reason. Most people say that MHS has changed their lives, but what does that really entail?
I was enrolled at MHS when I was five years old. I’ve spent nearly my entire childhood here, and with this comes good and bad times, but, I’ve realized that the bad times have only opened doors for the good.
Between my pre-kindergarten and fourth-grade years, I was known as a “class clown” or “trouble-maker.” I come from a low-income family. I have experienced parental incarceration and witnessed abuse and drug use. I never let myself relax or appreciate what I had because I never knew how long I would have it or if it was something I even deserved. MHS has taught me that I do deserve it, and, that the only thing standing in the way of me and my own success is myself, no matter where you come from.
During my fourth-grade year (2011), I lost one of the most important people in my life, my grandmother. Losing her was a big turning point in my life. I saw that life is a gift and when you’re given a gift, even if believed undeserving, you appreciate it. I still had behavior issues, but this was the beginning of my growth, that I would at least try in school and try to behave. If I would apply myself, I could achieve anything.
Looking back at my high school experience, even though there were some hard moments, I improved overall. My grades improved each year. I earned a GPA of 94, which is up from a 79 only a few years prior! I’ve also been able to earn more opportunities and have experienced fewer behavioral challenges. I am at a point in life where I never thought I would be, and this is only the beginning. I can only imagine where life can go from here.
I’ve grown meaningful relationships with my mentors, coaches, principals, supervisors, and other adults at MHS. This has played a big part as to why I have experienced so much growth. Because even when I gave up on myself, they never gave up on me.
At one point, I was basically failing all my classes, had constant behavioral issues and did not even go out for the sports that I once participated in. I now apply myself, have made distinguished honors and honor roll, the effort and conduct award, and received the Most Improved Award from the track team. I earned an all-expense paid international trip to Panama and an internship at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. Not to mention a quality education, college scholarship and the privilege of being a student at MHS—things that people can only imagine to experience at such a young age.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunities MHS has provided me. Each obstacle has provided me with wisdom and growth. Although my time here is coming to an end, it is only the beginning. Looking back at my time at MHS, it is mind-boggling the amount of opportunities my 12,000+ brothers and sisters and I have been given. I believe if you can make it here you have the tools to make it anywhere. Milton Hershey paved the way you just have to walk it, and once you do, the world is yours.