Reflection and Update from Katie Vadakin

My name is Katie Vadakin, and I grew up in the Hershey community from 18 months old to 14 years old (1997-2010), however, Hershey continues to be a part of me today. I am currently in my third year at Bentley University, a business-centered university in Boston. Additionally, I just returned from Madrid, Spain where I was studying for the last four months. Before I left for this unique opportunity abroad, I can recall my internship supervisor saying to me something along the lines of “Katie, you’re pretty well-rounded and worldly for someone from the Midwest.” Disregarding the classic East Coast jab at the Midwest (long live CLE), this is not the first time I have heard something along these lines regarding my leadership, travels, or general independence. While there is no doubt in my mind that Hershey Montessori shaped me into the person I am today, I believe that it affected my independence and curiosity the most. Montessori’s hands-on learning style, which allows students to explore both their indoor and outdoor classrooms, contributes to a child’s curiosity and develops into an adolescent’s desire to learn. I have always felt a desire to learn – not only academically, but also culturally and introspectively. This ambition fueled by my Hershey education has led to my passions for volunteering, travel, mathematics, Spanish, and much more.

I gained independence and confidence as a child through opportunities such as choosing my own work, performing in short plays, and exploring the nature around me. In my later years at Hershey I further developed leadership skills at the Farm School through activities such as running the holiday basket sales, leading a committee to create a yearbook, and volunteering to work with students at the elementary school. Memories from Hershey like these have stayed with me throughout my personal and professional development. At the time, I had no idea that actions such as building a fort in “stick city,” singing at the Farm’s “Coffee House” night, or serving food at the annual pancake breakfast would each be instrumental in my education. I hold these memories close, not only because they made up my childhood and adolescence, but also because I know that I owe a lot of my current experiences and success to the background Hershey has given me.

Katie Vadakin

Hershey Montessori School Alumni Ambassador