The Design Company.

You can change this area in header.php

Special Sidebar

You can add any content in this area by go to
Admin->Design->Widgets->Sidebar4

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Back to School! Again!

Dedication of the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School. 1914

Dedication of the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School. 1914

 

By now, students everywhere are back in school.  We can definitely feel it here in Hershey, as Hersheypark has closed, except for a few more weekends, and Hershey residents can drive through town without being slowed by tourist traffic.

 

Hershey residents take pride in the quality of our public school system.  Good schools were valued by Milton Hershey and he made significant contributions to ensure that Hershey children would have access to a quality education.

 

2014 marks the centennial of Milton Hershey’s first significant gift to Hershey’s public schools: the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School of Derry Township.  Dedicated on October 13, 1914, the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School offered education for grades 1-12.  The building had 18 class rooms on three floors, a kindergarten, library, bathrooms, playrooms and lunch rooms.

 

Class portrait, Derry Township School District. ca.1920-1930

Class portrait, Derry Township School District. ca.1920-1930

 

The building was designed to serve up to 850 students.  Students began their academic career as kindergartners on the first level and literally worked their way through the building, grade by grade.  Students finally made their way to the top floor for their High School years.

 

Hershey Junior-Senior High School, graduating class.  ca.1925-1950

Hershey Junior-Senior High School, graduating class. ca.1925-1950

 

This school building was only one of many gifts Milton Hershey would make to the Derry Township School District during his lifetime.    You can read more about the history of Hershey public education here and here.

 

M.S. Hershey Consolidated School

This week, thousands of Derry Township students returned to school, something that children have been doing in this township since the 1800s.

‘Tis education forms the common mind

Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined

Alexander Pope, British poet, 1732

I found this quote in the Hershey Press.  It was part of an editorial published July 9, 1914.  The editorial was praising the completion of a new school building for Hershey, the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School, that would open that fall.  The addition of the Consolidated School was a remarkable accomplishment for a town only 11 years old.  And it was all due to Milton Hershey’s vision for his model community.

Greiner School, a one-room school in Derry Township, PA.  ca.1900

Greiner School, a one-room school in Derry Township, PA. ca.1900

When Milton Hershey returned to Derry Township to begin construction of his  chocolate factory, 14 one-room schools dotted the township.  During the 19th century, in rural areas like Derry Township,  education was limited to one-room schoolhouses.  Milton Hershey, who spent part of his childhood here,  attended 3 of those schoolhouses as a young boy.  The short school year and Milton Hershey’s lack of interest resulted in a very uneven education.  His experience was not unusual.

Milton Hershey as a seven year old boy, 1864.

Milton Hershey as a seven year old boy, 1864.

By the time Milton Hershey was an adult and developing his new town, he knew that the future success of his model community would depend upon the success of future generations of residents.  He recognized that investing in public education was key to that success.

Named for the recently slain United States president, McKinley School enabled the School District to establish a township high school.  ca.1906

Named for the recently slain United States president, McKinley School enabled the School District to establish a township high school. ca.1906

His commitment to public education began even before the Hershey Chocolate factory was completed.  In 1904 he donated land and money to the Derry Township School District to encourage them to build a high school for his new community (even though he couldn’t know for certain how many children would be available to attend).  It was a gamble.

But Milton Hershey’s dreams for his community became real and the town grew.  The numbers of students increased rapidly.  The first school building, McKinley School, consolidated 4 one-room schools and established a formal high school program.  The School District quickly outgrew the building.

McKinley School, ca.1910-1914

McKinley School, ca.1911-1914

In 1911 McKinley School  was enlarged.  By 1912 it was clear that a new school building was needed.  The growth of the community and the student population provided Milton Hershey with an opportunity to implement an innovative educational program.

Next time:  Bringing Educational Innovation to Hershey

$50M phone call

Ground breaking for The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 2/26/1966.  l-r:  Dr. Eric R. Walker, Samuel Hinkle, (?), Arthur Whiteman, George T. Harrell

Ground breaking for The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 2/26/1966. l-r: Dr. Eric R. Walker, Samuel Hinkle, (?), Arthur Whiteman, George T. Harrell

 

Hershey is fortunate to be home to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  Because of it Hershey has access to a world class medical facility and some of the finest medical care in the United States.  How and why Penn State came to Derry Township to build a medical school and teaching hospital is a fascinating story, one best told by Samuel Hinkle, who was President of Hershey Chocolate Corporation and serving on the Board of the Hershey Trust Company and as Trustee of Penn State University at the time the decision was made.

It was Mr. Hinkle who first proposed using the money for the “construction, operation and endowment of a medical center.” In Sam Hinkle’s oral history interview found in the Hershey Community Archives he related:  My own conclusion was that he [Milton Hershey] was so interested in relieving human suffering, that he would certainly approve an idea where we could have a fine medical school and teaching hospital here.”  Once the Hershey Trust Board and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office agreed with the plan, Sam Hinkle made a phone call to Eric Walker, then President of Penn State University.  In his oral history, Hinkle continued his story: 

I asked Dr. Walker to stop by one day when he was coming through.  When he did stop, we met at the airport here in Hershey, and brought him into the office.  A few of us gathered around the table and said–I’d been on the board of trustees up there at that time–“Eric, what would you say if we tried to start a medical school for Penn State here in Hershey?

 

 

 He said, “Sam, you might as well save your breath, my time, and forget it.  There isn’t a five-cent-piece to be had for a medical school either here or anywhere else in Pennsylvania for Penn State.”
 

I said, “Eric, what would you say if I told you we had $50 million for you to start with?”
 

His eyes popped and he said, “That would be different.  I’ll take it up with my board.”  So he went back and the board approved, of course.

 

One of the most important conditions Hershey placed on their proposed gift was that the Medical Center must be located in Derry Township, as Mr. Hershey’s Deed of Trust stated.  On August 23, 1963 Pennsylvania Orphans Court approved a $50 million gift from the Milton Hershey School Trust to The M.S. Hershey Foundation which would serve as the conduit of the money to build the Pennsylvania State University medical school and teaching hospital.  The complex would be known as The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  Breaking ground on February 26, 1966, the Medical Center was completed in 1970.  And on October 14, 1970 Hershey Hospital closed to the public and patients were transferred to the new facility.  A formal dedication for the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center of the Pennsylvania State was held June 5, 1971.   Over the years the original medical center has greatly expanded as many millions of dollars have been invested in new facilities for research and patient care.  In the 1990s, the medical center emerged as the township’s  largest employer, with more than 6000 employees.

It’s back to school…

Hershey Estates vice president James E. Bobb leads a group of children at Hershey Elementary School dedication ceremonies, November 15, 1956.

Hershey Estates vice president James E. Bobb leads a group of children at Hershey Elementary School dedication ceremonies, November 15, 1956.

Milton Hershey’s interest in and commitment to providing the town with quality public education led him to underwrite the cost of all the community’s public school buildings constructed in Hershey during his lifetime.  Continuing that tradition, in 1954 The M.S. Hershey Foundation presented the Derry Township School District with a new elementary school.  The new building initially served students in Kindergarten thru Grade 3.  In 1956, a 15 room addition was completed allowing the school to bring fourth and fifth grade students into the new building.  In addition to classrooms, the elementary school contained a cafeteria, all-purpose room, music rooms, speech corrections office, health room, and administrative offices.   In 1956 there were 1,104 students in the elementary school.  Dedication ceremonies and a community wide open house were held on November 15, 1956.  More than 2000 people toured the new school building. The elementary school would be the last public school building totally funded by the Hershey Entities.

To learn more about the history of public education in Hershey check the history of education exhibit on the Archives’ website.