High school freshman from Shepherdstown overcomes adversity
SHEPHERDSTOWN – When Milton Hershey founded the Milton Hershey School on Nov. 15, 1909, he had one goal – to help impoverished, healthy orphan boys build a promising future for themselves.
According to Milton, “[t]he value of our good is not measured by what it does, but by the amount of good it does to the one concerned.” And, in the almost 100 years since his school’s founding, Milton’s legacy has done quite a lot of good for thousands of children from around the United States.
“Our school is run by the generosity of Milton and Catherine Hershey, through a deed of trust set up by Mr. Hershey, so we have quite a large endowment that allows us to continue to provide a promising education to students,” said Stacey Spangenburg, MHS admissions counselor, in a phone interview on Friday.
According to Spangenburg, the idea to create the school originated with Catherine, and since its creation has expanded its doors to include healthy male and female students from impoverished backgrounds.
“Right now we have well over 2,000 students on our campus. Their vision has expanded from 100 students to 2,119,” Spangenburg said, mentioning students who attend the school are well cared for. “Milton Hershey provides children with room and board, tuition, medical and dental care, clothing and activities. Students who qualify and are enrolled, we take care of the majority of their needs.”
One such student who qualified for and is currently enrolled in the school is high school freshman Trevor Jenkins. Now in his fourth year at the school, Jenkins’ family first heard about the school from his principal at Shepherdstown Elementary School, who recommended Jenkins’ older sister attend the school. Two years later, Jenkins received the same recommendation, making fifth grade his last year as a student in Shepherdstown.
“I was living with my grandparents at the time, because there were incarceration problems in my family with my parents,” Jenkins said, mentioning his grandparents have seen him grow since he started attending MHS. “They’re proud and they’re happy that I can do more now and can accomplish more things. We were really stressed with money, but it relieves stress on them, because they can do more than they used to do.”
Since Jenkins joined the program at MHS, he has grown accustomed to the rigorous academic schedule and entered the law, public safety and security career pathway within the Career and Technical Education program. His free time is kept busy with community service projects, chores and working on campus, which Jenkins is doing to save up money for college.
Although his parents and grandparents may still be living in Shepherdstown, Jenkins is surrounded by the support of his school teachers, house parents, school counselor and sisters.
“I miss being near family. Sometimes when you’re here you get homesick a little, but over time you get used to it. I have two sisters here, so they’re there for me when I need them,” Jenkins said, mentioning his younger sister started attending the school a couple years ago.
MHS currently has 28 students from West Virginia, 17 of which are from the Eastern Panhandle.
Admission to MHS is open to those between the ages of four and 15, and is determined by a variety of factors, which can be found at www.mhskids.org/admissions/admissions-considerations/. Families who would like to learn more can attend the MHS info session and dinner on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Golden Corral in Martinsburg. Attendees can show up without RSVPing, but are encouraged to RSVP at www.mhskids.org.