Hershey News

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120 Trees To Be Planted in Hershey’s Name

120 Trees To Be Planted in Hershey’s Name

Hershey Montessori School is having 120 trees planted in the school’s name. Hershey received recognition as a TreeRing Green Yearbook School upon partnering with TreeRing to build, publish, and sell 120 Hershey Montessori School yearbooks to its students and families.

TreeRing, a partner to Trees for the Future, prints on partially recycled paper and only produces the exact number of books parents buy, eliminating unnecessary waste and resources.

Trees for the Future is an organization that works closely with farmers to continually discover ways to make positive environmental and economic impact. Trees for the Future has been planting trees across the world for more than 30 years to not only end deforestation, but help with poverty and hunger, providing families with food and income through their Forest Garden Approach.

Hershey Montessori School and TreeRing are pleased to be helping students preserve memories while also doing our part to help save the planet. Our school community can feel good about providing students and parents with a yearbook that captures their personal memories in a beautifully produced book. It can also have confidence in the sustainable and environmentally conscious approach taken in producing them. It’s the least we can all do for the next generation.


Hershey Adolescent Community Updates Fall Return to Campus

Hershey Adolescent Community Updates Fall Return to Campus

By Judy Kline Venaleck, Associate Head of School and Adolescent Campus Director

Hershey Montessori School staff and Adolescent Community are eagerly anticipating the 2021-2022 school year and the return of international and domestic boarding students to the Huntsburg campus. All signs from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the Ohio Department of Health look positive for increased vaccination rates and drastically reduced numbers of COVID-19 cases in many regions, and in particular, Ohio. We hope that the continued increase in numbers of vaccinated people in the United States will prevent the take-off of new, more virulent, variants of the virus such as those we are currently seeing in other countries.

What We Know Today
We are still in the planning stages for health protocols for re-entry to boarding life. We will design for well-being and expect that the boarding community will live like a family without masks and other COVID protocols. We will certainly honor any residential member who wishes to wear a mask and we will continue the increased level of attention to handwashing and day-to-day health awareness practices in general.

We closely follow announcements from the CDC as well as the Ohio Department of Health and weekly announcements from Ohio’s Governor, Mike DeWine. Following the science of these organizations is what informs our decisions. Please be aware that any unforeseen changes and announcements in the coming months can have an impact on our health protocols and planning.

• Students 12 years and older are now eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. We appreciate the science behind the fact that as more of us are vaccinated, the healthier the boarding program will be for everyone.
• Vaccination – we are not ready to make a decision about whether COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for boarding students, but we do strongly encourage them. This decision is subject to change as we follow the science or have a sense of any more contagious variants.
• Students who will not have all vaccinations required on Hershey Montessori School’s Medical Statement and Immunization Data form for 2021-2022 at the time of arrival in August, need to claim EXEMPTION status.

• If there is a significant spike in COVID-19 cases by mid-August, it is possible that students may have to quarantine prior to arriving to campus. It will be necessary to factor in a 5-day hotel stay followed by a negative COVID test to your arrival time.
• If there is a high rate of cases in only certain states or countries, students from those particular regions may need to quarantine off campus.

COVID-19 Testing
• We will be testing boarding students upon arrival to campus on August 23rd with a rapid results test.

Timeline and Date by Which Protocol Will Be Finalized
• June 17, 3:00pm EDT – Boarding parent ZOOM meeting with house parents.
• July 8 – Update on COVID-19 trends and the rate of any variant spread.
• July 22 – Final decision on whether COVID-19 vaccine will be required for boarding students.
• August 2 – Final protocols announced for boarding community.

I-20 Documents for International Students
• We will be releasing I-20 documents in the next 10 days that each student will need to:
     o obtain a Student Visa through the U.S. Consulate in your country.
     o enter the U.S. along with the Student Visa and passport.
• If a student has dual citizenship with the U.S., please notify us as an I-20 is not required in this case.

Regular updates regarding health protocols for next school year will be provided to enrolled families as we monitor the data over the next few months and continue to consult with our medical expert advisors.

Interested and enrolled families are welcome to contact the school office with any questions.

Hershey Graduates 4th Class in Groundbreaking Birth through 12th Grade Montessori Continuum

Hershey Graduates 4th Class in Groundbreaking Birth through 12th Grade Montessori Continuum

It has been a year unlike any other: navigating a global health crisis with a student body that attended from both near and far, and remaining healthy and joyful while planning for an even more uncertain future. It was a lot. Perhaps this is why seeing the Class of 2021 cross the threshold from adolescent student to Hershey alumni felt that much richer.

Paula Leigh-Doyle, Head of School; Wesley Wilson, Upper School Director; Judy Kline Venaleck, Associate Head of School and Adolescent Campus Director

“What we are seeing from our graduates is a readiness, a firm but fluid preparedness for anything life may bring to their door,” said Wesley Wilson, Hershey Upper School Director.

“Dr. Maria Montessori had a vision for the adolescent, and we have realized that vision here at Hershey Montessori School,” added Paula Leigh-Doyle, Head of School. “An integrated, project-based curriculum that combines with community and practical work is proving an effective approach to education as we see more and more students come up through the planes of development and complete their Montessori education with us.”

Judy Kline Venaleck, Associate Head of School and the Adolescent Campus Director, said, “I have experienced the benefits of a full continuum of a Montessori education as a parent as well as a staff member. The reward is great from both perspectives. A Montessori education is very special and extremely effective in helping children grow and develop into happy, fulfilled, and emotionally intelligent adults.” explained Kline Venaleck. “They come away with a confidence and know-how that continues to give me great hope for this world’s future. If there was anything we could do differently, it would be to increase the amount of students we have by a hundred fold each year.”

On behalf of the entire Hershey community, we wish our newly graduated Class of 2021 much happiness and joyful adventures as they embark on their journey to impact the world in whatever manner they choose.


Hershey Students Taking Products to Market

Hershey Students Taking Products to Market

Tenth and eleventh year Hershey Montessori School students are nearing the end of their Food Systems Project, a project that combines content and skills from the student’s Humanities, Integrated Science, and Business courses.

Hershey 10th and 11th year students each chose a food item to produce and sell at local markets. In support of quality production, students learned foundational food chemistry concepts and used scientific methods in order to improve their product. They also investigated historical, cultural, or social justice aspects of their product to strengthen their branding and story-telling. Students then calculated the price of production and break-event points in order to take a loan from Hershey’s Microeconomy – a hallmark component of Hershey’s Adolescent Community modeled after Dr. Montessori’s vision for adolescents to participate in, and manage, small business endeavors in order to experience economic activity as an introduction to real economic life.  

Students also presented their products at a “Shark Tank” event with guest expert judges. Each student’s project survived, allowing them to move on and finish readying their product for market.

The Food Systems Project students are now nearing the final stage of their endeavor as they complete the final tasks of website creation, food production, and packaging. They will take their finished products to local markets, making them available for sale to the public.

A list of student products is as follows:

  • Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Easy Aussie Damper Mix
  • Cornbread Mix
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Sourdough Bagels
  • Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
  • Homemade White Bread (great for those picky eaters!)
  • Maple Cotton Candy
  • Fresh-made Shade-grown Coffee Beverages
  • Homemade Fresh Soda-Pop
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Fermented Pickles
  • Smokin’ Mitch’s BBQ Sauce and Meal Plates
  • Conscious Chocolate Bars


Each off-campus market will have two to four students present, representing their items and Hershey Montessori School. However, all local, participating students will be present for Hershey’s larger Huntsburg Campus market.


Currently scheduled markets and dates are listed below. 


Willoughby Farmers’ Market

May 22nd

8:00 – 12:00 pm


Huntsburg Campus Market 

June 2nd

2:30 – 4:30 pm



Alumna Update: Melissa Kwitowski, PhD

Alumna Update: Melissa Kwitowski, PhD

Melissa Kwitowski, PhD, Hershey Alumna

Hershey Montessori School would like to recognize Hershey alumna Melissa Kwitowski. Melissa began her first full-fledged position as a PhD clinical psychologist at the University of Colorado Department of Psychiatry in December 2020.

Melissa is now a clinical health psychologist in the Women’s Behavioral Health and Wellness service line in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Colorado School of Medicine. She received her graduate degree in counseling psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University with an emphasis in health psychology. She completed her internship at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and postdoctoral fellowship at Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Melissa has expertise in women’s mental health and the management of chronic medical conditions. She provides outpatient psychotherapy services within the Department of Psychiatry with an emphasis on treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Melissa also serves as the psychologist on the Perinatal Behavioral Health Pathways program which provides mental health services for patients hospitalized on the labor and delivery and mother/baby unit at UC Health. Another of her roles in the Department of Psychiatry is conducting psychosocial candidacy evaluations for patients seeking auto-transplantation procedures for conditions such as Nutcracker Syndrome and Loin Pain Hematuria Syndrome. In this position, she assists in connecting medically complex individuals with appropriate care and coping resources before, during, and after surgical intervention.

Melissa says she is very proud of, and thankful for, her time at Hershey and how well it prepared her not only for higher education, but for working collaboratively and thinking critically.

Congratulations, Dr. Melissa Kwitowski, on all your hard-earned success. Your life-changing work gives us more hope for humanity, knowing young people like you are in leadership roles like this. We are all inspired by your achievements!

Hershey Holds Senior Signing Ceremony

Hershey Holds Senior Signing Ceremony

Hershey Upper School staff and students recently held a Senior Signing Ceremony as a formal declaration and celebration of each senior’s post-graduation plans.
This year, one hundred percent of Hershey graduates are enrolling at colleges and universities. Seniors were invited to wear apparel representing their chosen college or university. They were given a sign with the name and logo of the institution where they have enrolled.
Two seniors were also recognized for their athletic commitments; Lucy McNees for tennis and Michael Swank for lacrosse.
We wish our soon-to-be graduates much happiness as they begin to transition into the next chapter of their lives. We are proud of who they are, what they have accomplished, and we are certain they will make an impact wherever they go.
Hershey Embarks on Social Discovery Journey

Hershey Embarks on Social Discovery Journey

The crises we are witnessing is not one of those that make the passage from one era to another, it can only be compared with the opening of a new Biological or Geological period, when new beings come upon the scene, more evolved and more perfect, while upon the earth are realized conditions of life, which had never existed before.” Dr. Maria Montessori, Peace and Education (1932)

The events that unfolded over the last year brought a heightened awareness of the social injustice and inequity that has plagued our nation’s history and profoundly affected fellow citizens.

Dr. Montessori, and many other scientists, demonstrated that an education that removes the obstacles for healthy development, and that allows the student’s innate energies for good to develop in accordance with their natural capacity, will reveal a “new child” who is intellectually independent and emotionally drawn to contribute to moral and social conditions of their environments.

That is why this year’s whole school professional development day centered on social-emotional development that included emotional intelligence and communication skills, as well as social leadership capacities and abilities. We learned about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) from specialists with Cleveland consulting firm Sage and Maven.

A number of staff as well as some Upper School students also took the opportunity to dive deeper into learning about Restorative Justice with specialist Tarek Maassarani. Maassarani’s work on the science of peace, on both the national and international level, includes organizations such as Restorative DC and Communities in Transition.

Several topics were covered in the two half-day sessions, including Privilege, LGBTQ language, how we create our identity, the difference between explicit and implicit bias, the difference between “not racist” versus “anti-racist,” the different types of racism, and restorative practices.

Hershey staff deepened their understanding of how to create practices and environments that strengthen community inclusion and connection so that our students will learn even more about community responsibility and leadership.

“It is this conviction that imbues us with hope that education may be the most effective instrument to attain the union of all humanity. To this end, education must channel the powerful creative energies of the child toward an ultimate spiritual independence, utilizing to its utmost (their) miraculous capacity for adaptation, according to an ideal of altruism and love.” – Dr. Maria Montessori, Citizen of the Word, San Remo Lectures, Montessori-Pierson Publishing Co. (1949)

A DEIB circle (a.k.a. “committee”) has also been formed to help further progress in this area. The circle is made up of staff and Upper school students who select consultants and trainers, meet and attend workshops, webinars, and trainings for the purpose of sharing and advancing DEIB work and initiatives at Hershey Montessori School.

“There was a group of seven students who participated in the 3-hour workshop, which focused on being actively affirming and inclusive of all identities,” said Lucy McNees, a senior at Hershey.

She and two other Upper School students, sophomore Kylie Golden-Appleton and senior Cecilia Carney, lead an antiracism initiative and meet with the DEIB circle biweekly to discuss the school’s efforts and goals.

“In this way, we can move forward with the whole community on the same page,” says McNees.

As a staff and whole school, Hershey will continue to ensure it has healthy, prepared environments that allow for personal reflection and deep dialogue about our personal contribution to growth in DEIB.

Self-awareness and growing in social emotional intelligence as a community can be wonderfully restorative and inclusive. It is important that Hershey maintains an environment where all feel safe, represented, heard and valued.

Watch for a Hershey DEIB resource webpage to come in the near future.


Adolescent Boarding Set to Reopen Fall 2021

Adolescent Boarding Set to Reopen Fall 2021

We are thrilled to be able to bring our boarding students back home to Hershey this fall!

Hershey staff and administration are finalizing the residential design, facilities use, and remaining COVID-19 contingency plans for the fall.

Much progress is being made to mitigate and reduce infection numbers here in our region and across the United States.

We will be sharing more information as details are finalized.

Returning and/or new families who are interested in registering for this fall may contact the school at 440-636-6290 or email admissions@hershey-montessori.org.

We enthusiastically welcome you back home to Hershey. Our Huntsburg campus eagerly awaits your return!

Community Art Partnership Enriches Students

Community Art Partnership Enriches Students

Tania Bertolone, Middle School Director

Earlier this school year, Tania Bertolone, Hershey’s Middle School Director at our Huntsburg campus sought outside specialists for the purpose of broadening exposure to the arts for our Middle School students. In her search, Bertolone connected with Jeannie Fleming-Gifford, Executive Director at Fairmount Center for the Arts.

At Tania’s direction, Hershey hired two of Fairmount’s artists to serve as specialists for Middle School students to enhance Hershey’s Creative Expression curriculum.

Liliana Garlisi, who serves as Fairmount’s Piano faculty, meets weekly with Hershey students, inspiring, connecting and providing opportunities for them to learn, grow and express themselves through music.

Brigitte Fiorille, who serves as Fairmount’s Art Director and Ceramics faculty, also meets with students to work with them in the ceramics studio at Hershey’s Huntsburg campus. Both women have brought the students great inspiration and expertise in their crafts.

“Creative Expression is a core component of our Middle School curriculum and we are intentional about supporting and connecting with our community,” Bertolone said. What I found with Fairmount Center for the Arts was a perfect alignment for us and our students. They bring professionalism and expertise to every class and every project. Our students are engaged and are learning so much.”

Clay pots hand-crafted by Hershey Middle School students.

Fairmount generally conducts its programs at its facility in Novelty, Ohio, but this partnership has been ideal in that they were willing to travel to the school campus each week.

Fairmount Center for the Arts has many hands-on forms of expression from dance, to art, music, and theater. They offer several different activities like camps, workshops, and even fitness classes. We are so grateful to have such a fantastic organization in our community for our students to experience and enjoy. They also offer classes to the community in a COVID-safe environment. You can view and register for a variety of offerings on their website. Learn more about Fairmount Center for the Arts by visiting their website at www.fairmountcenter.org/.



Hershey Montessori School Is Offering Student Shadow Days

Hershey Montessori School Is Offering Student Shadow Days

Hershey Montessori School is excited to begin offering Shadow Days again at the Middle and Upper School campus.

The Shadow Day opportunity allows prospective students to experience Hershey’s campus, culture, and curriculum in a personal way. Shadow students are also able to ask peers relevant questions that equip them to make an informed decision about their education journey.

Precautions have been taken to modify Shadow Days to ensure adherence to all recommended health and safety measures. Shadowing students will be able to safely and authentically experience what being a student at Hershey Montessori School is like.

Hershey’s Middle and Upper School campus is located at 11530 Madison Road in Huntsburg, Ohio. 

Interested families may contact the Huntsburg campus Administration and Admissions Manager, Robyn Dill, to schedule a Shadow Day for their child. Phone 440-636-6290 or email rdill@hershey-montessori.org to request more information.

We look forward to meeting you!


Hershey Montessori School
Hershey Montessori SchoolTuesday, June 23rd, 2020 at 12:10pm
Message, email, or call us. We are happy to answer your questions.
For information on birth-grade 6, call 440-357-0918.
For information on grades 7-12, call 440-636-6290.
Hershey Montessori School
Hershey Montessori SchoolThursday, June 18th, 2020 at 3:10pm
Why do students love Hershey Montessori School? We focus on the wholeness of the child!
Hershey Montessori School
Hershey Montessori SchoolTuesday, June 16th, 2020 at 4:37pm
At the last alumni gathering, Hershey graduates shared with us what course of study they are pursuing and what university they are attending. We then asked them to speak to how they felt prepared for where they are on their journey. Here is what they shared.
Hershey Montessori School
Hershey Montessori SchoolMonday, June 15th, 2020 at 3:25pm
Embracing each other's uniqueness is part of the beauty of Hershey Montessori School. Our focus on care of self, care of others, and care of community is what sets our school community apart. We still have openings for our 2020-2021 school year. Message us if you would like more information.
Hershey Montessori School
Hershey Montessori SchoolSaturday, June 13th, 2020 at 11:25am
We can answer all your questions.