For a Leg Up, Milton Hershey School Students Tackle Multiple Trades

Training in law, public safety, and security at the Milton Hershey School pushed juniors Ryan Blom and Valkyrie Speaker out of their comfort zones and into real-world scenarios. It’s exactly what MHS wants to happen to give students a competitive edge over their peers after high school.

In one practical certification test, the students must put out fires using simulators, conduct head-to-toe assessments of partner students, and perform triage. Ryan and Valkyrie passed and earned certificates from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. They also received certification in ICS 100 (Incident Command System) to handle emergencies the way police are trained to do.

These emergency preparedness certifications are just two of 35 students can earn in the school’s Career/Technical Education (CTE) program. All MHS high school students must choose a certification specialization in the ninth grade.

As a result of her experience, Valkyrie is contemplating whether she will study law enforcement after high school. Since she’s received her certifications, she has landed a paid internship in the safety and security department of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. “They’re salivating over her resume,” says David Curry, law, public safety, and security instructor.

For his part, Ryan is leaning toward pursuing law, and has learned much about communication skills. In a class called verbal judo, the MHS director of safety and security guides students on communicating one-on-one with someone who’s irate. Students also develop public speaking skills, including in a mock trial setting. Ryan says he’s found that projecting confidence is key – even if you don’t always feel that way inside.

Both students rave about David Curry, who received the national honor of Residential Educator of the Year by the Coalition for Residential Education (CORE). David spells out the goal of CTE: “We want to give students as many opportunities as possible to get whatever job they want.”

Does your school do something similar?

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