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Milton Hershey School alumnus Doug Oliver spoke during the school’s Founder’s Week assembly. — SUBMITTED PHOTO

Milton Hershey School, a private boarding school in Hershey, held its Founder’s Week last week and ended with a Founder’s Day Feast meal Sunday. Founder’s Week kicked off with an assembly on Monday, Nov. 6. Doug Oliver, a 1993 alumnus of the school, was the guest speaker.

“The Hersheys’ vision, benevolence, and selflessness gave me the opportunity to change my life circumstances,” said Oliver during his speech. “In fact, their gift changed three generations of my family. Of course it changed my life, but it changed my mom’s life as well. Now my son’s life is different because he was born into different circumstances than he otherwise would have been in.”

Oliver, who grew up in Germantown, attended five different schools over an eight year period before attending MHS in the ninth grade. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Lock Haven University and earned a master’s degree in communication from LaSalle University and executive master of business administration from St. Joseph’s University.

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Milton and Catherine Hershey founded the school in 1909 to provide a positive, structured life year round gain the skills to be successful in all aspects of life. On Nov. 15, 1909, the Hersheys signed the Deed of Trust for the Hershey Industrial School, now known as Milton Hershey School. The school celebrates the signing of the Deed of Trust through Founder’s Week, a long tradition.

Other events throughout the week included a special performance for the student body at the Hershey Theater on Friday from MHS alumnus and Broadway star Marcus Paul James.

McCall Elementary School recognized

General George A. McCall Elementary School, 325 S. 7th St., was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Schools Superintendent William Hite traveled with McCall Principal Stephanie McKenna to accept the award for the K-8 school with 735 students. The school was recognized for its exemplary academic performance and is just one of 342 nationwide and 18 in the Commonwealth to be awarded the distinction.

“The School District of Philadelphia is excited to celebrate McCall School’s impressive achievement,” said Hite in a statement. “The School and its leadership have worked hard to improve climate and progress in recent years, and the efforts are paying off. I applaud Principal Stephanie McKenna, students and staff on creating a place to learn that is welcoming, academically rigorous and supportive of the entire school community. “

Drexel program Grant recipient

A Philadelphia organization is in the first round of those to receive grants from Forward Promise, to support groups that provide culturally-relevant and evidence-supported responses to trauma to boys and young men of color (BYMCC) schools, health systems, juvenile detention and community based settings.

Drexel University’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice is one of nine organizations among the grant awards totaling $3.15 million from Forward Promise, a national grant-making program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The awarded organizations help BYMOC overcome the effects of systemic and historical trauma linked to discrimination, oppression, dehumanization and prolonged exposure to violence, poverty and other forms of toxic stress.

The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, under Drexel’s School of Public Health, works to promote health, nonviolence, and social justice through trauma informed practice, research, professional development, and advocacy for policy change.

“We’re excited to partner with these nine organizations to help them lift and advance some of the best practices that use culture to address the impacts of trauma on the mental, emotional and physical health of BYMOC,” said Howard Stevenson, the director of Forward Promise, based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, in a statement.

Other organizations to receive funds include Amistades in Tuscon, Ariz.; Asian Counseling and Referral Service in Seattle; Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice in Oakland, Calif.; Deep Center in Savannah, Ga.; Fathers and Families Research Resource Center in Indianapolis, Ind.; Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, National Compadres Network in San Jose, Calif.; and Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, N.M.

Education Secretary tours tech institute

Education Secretary Pedro Rivera toured the Philadelphia Technician Training Institute, 7441 Ogontz Ave., on Tuesday as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s School’s That Teach Tour. The Tour is aligned with Wolf’s commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

PTTI is an accredited post-secondary institution where students receive six months of training in skilled trades of automotive training and repair, welding technology and training and manufacturing and automation.

“The demand for education and training for high and middle skill jobs, including jobs in STEM fields, will continue to increase over the next decade,” said Rivera in a statement. “To support workers and business expansion, PDE’s goal is for 60 percent of Pennsylvanians to have a post-secondary degree or credential by 2025, and student training at Philadelphia Technician Training Institute and other schools are important to that process.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is working with national, state and local cross sector partners to improve career pathways to ensure that all students, especially underrepresented populations, can explore, prepare and successfully pursue post-secondary opportunities, according a news release.

GRAMMY coalition to support Philly schools

The GRAMMY Music Education Coalition, a non-profit formed with the goal of increasing the number of youth actively participating in music making in U.S. public schools, has proposed that the first beneficiaries of the program will be the School District of Philadelphia, the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and the New York City Department of Education.

“The GRAMMY Music Education Coalition has one mission — to increase the number of students actively making music across the country with particular emphasis on under-served communities,” said Recording Academy President CEO Neil Portnow, in a statement. “The partnerships we are creating with schools districts, teachers, parents and youth are designed to drive systemic change across geographies and communities nationwide.”

The investments aim to provide program enhancements in music among students in public schools and allow for ongoing progress bench marking and communication. The investment is expected to be made this year and an official announcement will be made in Philadelphia before the end of the year. The GMEC consists of more than 30 groups considered among the nation’s most forward thinking organizations.

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