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The Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania is in a class of its own. It all came about at the request of Kitty, Milton Hershey’s wife, to start a school for orphan boys. Unable to have children of their own they created the Hershey Industrial School for orphan boys in 1909. The school has grown through the years and changed to meet the needs of today’s world.
On a hill above the town of Hershey is Founders Hall which is impressive inside and out. The marble rotunda has an interior height of 74 feet makes it the second largest in the world. The daily tours all start in the rotunda and include the 2700 seat state-of-the-art auditorium, the cafeteria and other aspects of the building. Plus there is a 20-minute video presentation about the school and its students.
Originally, the school was for orphan boys who helped out by doing farm work. Today the school population is divided equally between boys and girls with an ethnic mix and students from all over the United States. Students no longer need to be orphans but the family must be below the poverty level, between 4 and 15 years old, free of emotional or behavioral problems that would be disruptive to learning, and born in the United States. The school has an 87% graduation rate and over 90% go on to higher education. The alumna includes diplomats, doctors, entrepreneurs, educators and other productive members of society, which has been the school’s goal from the beginning.