Milton Hershey School

Milton Hershey School
Milton Hershey School
Opening new doors for children in need
Hershey, Pennsylvania
United States

40°16′11″N 76°37′35″W / 40.269853°N 76.626317°W / 40.269853; -76.626317Coordinates: 40°16′11″N 76°37′35″W / 40.269853°N 76.626317°W / 40.269853; -76.626317

Type Private boarding school
Established November 15, 1909
President Dr. Anthony J. Colistra
Principal Elementary Division: Carol Schilling

Middle Division: Deborah Brown
Senior Division: William Weber

Faculty approx. 130
Grades Pre-K-12
Enrollment Admission process
Number of students >1,800
Campus size 2,640 acres
Campus type Rural
Color(s) Gold & Chocolate Brown
Athletics football, soccer, track and field, cross country, baseball, softball, field hockey, swimming, diving, wrestling, cheerleading, basketball, hockey
Affiliation The Hershey Company
Information Office of Communications:(717) 520-2200
Endowment >U.S. $7.8 Billion; provided by the Milton Hershey School Trust[1]

The Milton Hershey School is a private philanthropic (pre-K through 12) boarding school in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Originally named the Hershey Industrial School, the institution was founded and funded by chocolate industrialist Milton Snavely Hershey and his wife, Catherine Sweeney Hershey. The school was originally established for impoverished, healthy, Caucasian, male orphans, while today it serves students of various backgrounds. The Milton Hershey School Trust, which funds the school, owns controlling interest in The Hershey Company and owns the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company (HERCO) which oversees many of the area hotels along with a theme park called Hersheypark. With over six billion dollars in assets, the Milton Hershey School is one of the wealthiest schools in the world. The school is overseen by a Board of Managers.

The school currently serves 1,818 students,[2] and plans to grow to 2,100 students by 2013.[citation needed] A member of CORE: Coalition for Residential Education, it is the largest residential education program in the US.


History of the school

“It was Kitty's idea,” Milton Hershey always said when he spoke of the Hershey Industrial School. “If we had helped a hundred children it would have all been worthwhile.”[3]

Fifteen years younger than her husband, Catherine Hershey developed an undiagnosable illness circa 1901, and was increasingly sickly for years.[4] Hershey’s father, Henry, had been highly intelligent, but not too realistic; his get-rich schemes never worked too well. Hershey did not cope well with the instability; he had attended seven different schools, yet never made it into the fifth grade,[5] so when Kitty was unable to bear children, the Hersheys decided to give needy kids the kind of upbringing he never had. Milton and Catherine Hershey established a home and a school for “poor, healthy white, male orphans between the ages of 8 through 18 years of age.”[3]

On November 15, 1909, Hershey signed over the 486-acre (1.97 km2) farm where he had been born, complete with livestock, to start the school. In 1910, Nelson (age 6), and his brother Irvin (age 4) were the first to arrive. Their father, who had worked as a polisher in a Mount Joy foundry, had died after a long illness, and their mother couldn’t support six children by taking in laundry. Their brother William, 2, was too young to be admitted for two more years. Another pair of brothers, sons of an Evangelical church’s pastor, arrived a few days later.[3] The first class consisted of 10 students,[6] and by 1914, there were 40 boys enrolled in the school.[3]

While Hershey consulted with experts on managing the school, he used three guiding principles to ensure the students had a good education, a sense of stability and security: every graduate should have a vocation, every student should learn love of God and man, and every student should benefit from wholesome responsibility. The vocational education program started with a woodworking shop, where the boys made their own beds and chests. Although Hershey was nonsectarian, claiming the "Silver Rule" as his religion, Sunday school was held regularly at the home. Starting in March 1929, the boys got the responsibility of doing daily chores in the dairy barns.[3]

After Kitty’s death in 1915,[4] Hershey gave his entire personal fortune - thousands of acres of land, and controlling interest in the company, worth US$60 million - to the school. He continued to be involved in the school’s operations until his 1945 death.[3]

The organizational papers were modified in 1933, allowing the school to accept older students, and again in 1951 to change the name of the school from the “Hershey Industrial School” to the “Milton Hershey School.” In 1968, the school was racially integrated, although it wasn’t until 1970 that the organizational papers allowed that, and another modification 1976 allowed female students, who started arriving in 1977.[3]

In 1989, the school stopped requiring students to milk cows twice daily, reflecting a changed focus from vocational to college preparatory education, but students were still required to perform chores.[3]

Students and student life

The Homestead

Admissions are based on five major admissions criteria: (1) Age, (2) Financial Need, (3) Social Need, (4) Potential To Learn, and (5) Geographic Preference.[7]

The school gives preference to students from Pennsylvania, and especially to students from Dauphin, Lancaster, and Lebanon counties.[7] Tri-county students account for 28% of the student body, with another 49% coming from elsewhere in Pennsylvania. The remaining 23% of the student body comes from 34 other states and from the District of Columbia.[2]

As of 2009, the student population of the school is 1,818. Girls outnumber boys 945 to 873. The students are 46% Caucasian, 30% African American, 11% Hispanic, 1% Asian, less than 1% Native American and 12% other.[2] Approximately 47% of the students have siblings who also attend MHS.[8]

A married houseparent couple with child care experience provides full-time supervision for each residence, caring for 9 to 13 children of the same gender, and about the same age. A student will share his (or her) bedrooms with one or two other students.[8]

As of August 2007, all senior students will live in the Transitional Living program, which places 4 students in an apartment, five apartments in a building, and two coordinators to oversee their actions. The program exists as a college-prep movement, in response to polls of MHS alumni which showed that many alumni felt unprepared for college. The TL program is notably more relaxed than the student homes, with fewer restrictions and rules. TL students do, however, shop for their own food with a $70.00 budget per week. They are also expected to keep their apartments and rooms clean, as well as biweekly chores around the building. As of August 2006, only 40 seniors are in the program (20 boys and 20 girls). They were chosen via lottery.

Students are "plainly, neatly, and comfortably clothed, without distinctive dress".[7] Students wear a uniform of "coordinated clothing" to classes and other designated School functions. School policies say students may have a limited amount of approved leisure and dress wear, and if the student's family or sponsor cannot buy it, the school will.[9]

Each child is encouraged to explore belief in God and in prayer, although the school is non-sectarian.[7] By school policy, students are required to attend a weekly Judeo-Christian chapel service on Sunday mornings.[10]

Student homes, academic buildings, and other facilities are mostly located within rough walking distance of one another. The centerpiece of the campus is Founders Hall with an auditorium seating 2700.[11]

In September 2007, the School opened its Springboard Academy, a program geared toward new incoming sixth and seventh graders, to help with transition into the core program. In 2008, the program changed from sixth and seventh graders to eighth graders. Springboard Academy is housed on its own campus, where about 84 students live in cottage-like dormitories. This program features a non-traditional curriculum, where reading and math skills are taught in an experientially based setting.

Students are also encouraged to participate in activities as students at Milton Hershey School. They are active in a wide range of activities such as visual and performing arts, athletics, student government association, mentoring/tutoring, and work-based learning.[12]

Milton Hershey School has seen recent success in such activities such as track and field, boys' basketball, boys' wrestling, and field hockey. The school's athletic teams participate interscholastically in District 3's Mid-Penn Conference.

Notable alumni

  • Nellie King, a former major league pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, graduated from the school in 1946.
  • Joe Senser, a former NFL star tight-end for the Minnesota Vikings, graduated from the school in 1974.
  • Mary Trinh Pentel, M.D., dermatologist and president of Southside Dermatology, Jacksonville, FL, graduated in 1986
  • Gerry P.H. Ballough, Ph. D., neuroscientist and full professor of biology, LaSalle University, graduated 1976
  • Mike Kenna, founder and CEO of Printery Communications, Port Townsend, WA, graduated 1970
  • Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer, Deputy Commandant, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps, graduated 1970
  • Michael J San Filippo (aka Michael Sanford), who prosecuted numerous terrorists in Florida, graduated in 1978.[13]


  1. ^ [1], retrieved on Jan 25, 2008
  2. ^ a b c Student Body Statistics, September 2007
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Hershey Chronicle, May 27, 1999 Milton Hershey School, retrieved September 22, 2006
  4. ^ a b Catherine Sweeney Hershey, retrieved September 22, 1006
  5. ^ Hershey History, retrieved September 22, 2006
  6. ^ Admissions FAQ, retrieved September 22, 2006
  7. ^ a b c d Second Restated Deed of Trust (1976), retrieved September 22, 2006
  8. ^ a b About, retrieved September 22, 2006
  9. ^ Dress Code, retrieved September 22, 2006
  10. ^ Religious programs, retrieved September 22, 2006
  11. ^ Founder's Hall, retrieved September 22, 2006
  12. ^
  13. ^ Suwannee Democrat

External links

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