Hershey Montessori Celebrates 40 Years at Harvest Festival
October 18, 2018 by Staff Report

Hershey Montessori School took the opportunity during its annual Harvest Festival Sept. 29 in Huntsburg Township to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Hershey Montessori School took the opportunity during its annual Harvest Festival Sept. 29 in Huntsburg Township to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

“I’m just grateful we’re all together for this wonderful tradition, this annual tradition to bring us together to share our common vision: to serve children from birth through 18 years old, and to provide them with optimal conditions for learning and growing into peace-loving citizens of the world,” said Candace DeSantis, president of the school’s board of directors.

DeSantis recognized Head of School Paula Leigh-Doyle, who was in Ireland during the event.

“Leigh-Doyle is steadfast, dedicated, a Montessorian without parallel, who leads our school with a gentleness and strength combined that amazes me,” she said. “Our school would not be the school we are without her leadership,” said DeSantis, adding she had a message from Leigh-Doyle to share:

“‘This is a celebration of purposeful work, of every child and parent and board member and staff member and community member from beyond to contribute to the well-being of the whole. Any child who comes through the elementary levels knows how deeply grateful we are for all that comes before us, all the people who come before us. And today, we reflect on the gratitude we have for the 40 years’ worth of ‘Hershey people’ who come before us.

“In particular, we recognize and thank staff who are called to this work and who remain fulfilled and growing along with our schools. It is the staff that makes the Montessori magic happen. For students, parents and especially alumni, these are the people whose faces you see in your mind when you think of Hershey Montessori School. Each of the members of this staff make a difference in the lives of people every single day. They make an impression. And they have an impact. I’ve seen the way alumni light up when they see a beloved guide from their youth at the Harvest Festival or at the pancake breakfast in the springtime, or during a visit to the Concord (Lower School) campus. I can’t imagine any greater honor than to be on the receiving end of one of those looks,’” Leigh-Doyle wrote.

DeSantis honored:

  • Laurie Ewert-Krocker, with Hershey for 28 years;
  • Jennifer Finan, with Hershey for 25 years;
  • Jayne Koeth, with Hershey for 24 years;
  • Stephanie Swank, with Hershey for 21 years;
  • Judy Venaleck, with Hershey for 21 years;
  • Sheryl Edwards, with Hershey for 20 years; and
  • Karen Hannan-DeWalt, with Hershey for 20 years.

“Thank you for sustaining the devotion and sustaining the vision of the mission of our school and for daily creating the optimal conditions to grow in,” said DeSantis.

DeSantis also honored school linchpin, Debra Hershey Guren, President and CEO of the Hershey Foundation.

“Debbie Guren has been with our school from the earliest days … when her own children were small,” DeSantis said. “Now she has the joy of seeing her grandchildren thrive in this wonderful environment. But she has been with us every step along the way in-between, providing unending advocacy and support of every type. Debbie, thank you for loving our school.”

DeSantis also announced the Hershey Foundation has gifted the school with a grant that completely eliminates the remaining construction debt for the Upper School building in Huntsburg Township.

“Which means that we can celebrate our 40thanniversary completely debt-free,” she said. “Montessori education and compassionate contributions to the community make the world a better place. These children will carry their light around the world”

The community enjoyed celebratory cupcakes and enjoyed tours of the new Upper School building, complete with pictorial timeline of the school’s history.

Party favors were packets of nasturtium seeds. The nasturtium has been identified, said DeSantis, as the 40thanniversary flower.

Enjoy a video of the celebration at Hershey’s Facebook: www.facebook.com/HersheyMontessoriSchool.