Bernice Weaver isn’t one to let an opportunity go to waste.

The Newville native recently graduated from Milton Hershey School, and will soon become the first member of her family to attend college.

Milton Hershey School is a private school offering small class sizes in academic programs for children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade from income-eligible families. All programs, activities, supplies and medical care are provided at no charge to students, who live on campus in a student home during the school year.

Weaver came to Milton Hershey and took advantage of extracurricular activities and learning opportunities by joining the Viva Diversity club, Youth Group, Junior Chapel, Horticulture Club, and National Honor Society.

She also developed a fierce work ethic and currently works two jobs — one in the MHS Admissions Office and another off-campus in the local community. She also took college courses on the MHS campus and will graduate with 17 credits toward her college education.

Q. Tell us how you came to Milton Hershey School.

A. I came to Milton Hershey School in sixth grade from Newville. My family had heard about the school, I applied and I was very excited to come. I loved my middle school houseparents. They were always there for me, listened to me and helped me whenever I needed anything. I still keep in contact with them today and I know I will even after graduation.

Throughout middle school and high school, I participated in extracurricular activities and learning opportunities by joining the Viva Diversity club, Youth Group, Junior Chapel, Horticulture Club and National Honor Society.

Q. While at MHS, you have held down two jobs in addition to your extracurricular activities and school work. How have those jobs help prepare you for your future?

A. I was busy working two jobs while also completing all my school work and extracurricular activities. I work at a local Subway and there I am able to gain customer service and time management skills.

I also work at the MHS Office of Admissions. I have learned so much through working closely with the admissions counselors and staff. I am able to assist them with any projects they needed help with and also organize application packets and folders, professional materials for conferences and meetings as well as help put together acceptance packages. I will continue to support the admissions staff this summer before going to college and I am looking forward to it.

Q. What drew you to the field of construction management?

A. I love the hands-on experiences I am able to get through the construction management career pathway. Through Milton Hershey School’s Career and Technical Education program, I was able to explore the various career concentrations within the field and earned two OSHA certifications. I feel proud knowing that I helped to build something that will last forever.

Q. What will be the greatest memory you will take with you as you leave MHS?

A. I have so many great memories at Milton Hershey School. It would be hard to pick just one. One of the first girls that I met at Milton Hershey School in middle division is still one of my best friends today. She has always been there for me and I call her my “rock.” Her friendship has meant so much to me over the years at MHS and I know we will remain good friends even though we are headed off to college in the fall. The relationships that I was able to create at MHS will always have a positive impact on my life.

Q. What does it mean to you to be the first generation of your family to go to college?

A. I am proud of my accomplishments at MHS. My family is very supportive of me and my future goals. I am truly just excited to go to college and also terrified of leaving Milton Hershey School and everything I have built here. Through MHS, I was able to gain 17 college credits before graduating. I will attend the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport to study construction management and possibly minor in psychology or sociology. MHS has made me a better person. Before I came, I was shy and had anger issues, but now I’ve broken out of my shell. I’m excited to graduate, try new things and meet new people.

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