Mini Reunion 2009 - Hershey Recap
Thursday, April 30 - Sunday, May 3
See Francis Kwok's photos below at the end.
Over the weekend of April 30 to May 3 twenty of our classmates, plus their wives/significant others, joined ten families of pre-Old Guard'ers from '65 for a memorable Mini-Reunion at Gettysburg, near Hershey, PA. On hand from our class, were
From '65 were DanBlanchard, Karl Ege, Richard Ober, John O'Brien, Jim Pearce, Lynn Sutcliffe, John Vogel, Van Zandt Williams, Dick Woodbridge, and Sanford Zeller.
- TEARRY BEATTY
- BUD D'AVELLA
- DENNIS DAVIS
- TERRY EAKIN
- CARL EASTWICK
- ROGER EVANS
- DOUG HANSMANN
- LARRY HORN
- DAVE KINARD
- BOB KOPF
- KEN KREIDMANN
- FRANCIS KWOK
- KIT MILL
- TINY MORGAN
- BOB NAHAS
- CHARLIE PLOHN
- JOHN SLAYBAUGH
- DAVE STITZER
- TURK THACHER
- RICH THOMAS
The event was organized, from our side, by Kit Mill and Turk Thacher, and from '65 by Dave Woodbridge and John O'Brien. Most people arrived at Hershey, PA, on Thursday and stayed at the beautiful Hotel Hershey. Thursday evening, there was a casual buffet dinner at the Hotel, where people spent time catching-up on each other's lives. Most of Friday was spent visiting the Milton Hershey School, hosted by then-President, John O'Brien. The day opened with a performance by the Middle School Jazz Band, who sounded like professionals who had been playing together for many years.
We also visited the homes in which about a dozen students live, each with a married couple who serve as surrogate parents. The students do their own laundry and perform chores such as cleaning the house, and working in the barns and fields owned and operated by the school community.
During lunch on Friday at the Homestead (Mr. Hershey's birthplace) each table was joined by a student or two so that classmates could learn more about the personal situations that brought the students to the Milton Hershey School and what a life-changing event it has been for them. Milton Hershey School is a private residential school for children pre-kindergarten through 12th grade who come from families of low income, limited resources, or social need.
The School was founded in 1909 by chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey and his wife, Catherine. Mr. Hershey gave his entire fortune to fund the school in perpetuity. It offers a community where children receive a high quality education, access to excellent athletic, recreational, and arts facilities, room and board in a nurturing, family-like student home, clothing, medical and dental care, and assistance with continuing education after graduation - all at no cost to the children's families.
Johnny O'Brien was one of those students. John's grandmother enrolled him and his older brother, Frankie, into the Hershey School after their father murdered their mother. John was not yet four years old. He graduated from Hershey in 1961, got a scholarship to Princeton, and went on to found Renaissance Leadership, a management consulting company specializing in change leadership and executive coaching.
John was an Education Policy Fellow at the National Institute of Education and an Associate Director of Admissions at Princeton, is currently on Princeton's Board of Trustees. John was named president of the Milton Hershey School in July 2003 and, during his tenure, it grew to serve 1,800 students, a 50 percent increase in the number of children enrolled at the School.
John oversaw the renovation of the School's flagship building into a new hall for middle school students; instituted a Transitional Living program aimed at helping seniors learn independent life skills before leaving the School; and created Springboard Academy to help new middle school students adjust to the highly structured life at MHS. John continued the mission of the school, while building a culture of accountability and positive spirit, until his retirement in May of this year (2009).
On Friday afternoon some people went on sightseeing tours of the Hershey Factory, Chocolate World, or Hershey Gardens, and some played golf at one of the three golf courses owned by the School. Later that evening they moved on to cocktails and dinner at The Hershey Story, a museum dedicated to describing the work of this monumental individual, Milton S. Hershey.
On Saturday morning the group traveled by bus to the Gettysburg battlefield site. During the ride, Terry Beatty and Rich Thomas gave the group primers on both the Civil War, in general, and specifically on the Battle of Gettysburg. Both of these fellows spoke extemporaneously and at length, and proved to be even more knowledgeable than the two outstanding guides who later took our group through the battlefield.