Local triplets graduate from Milton Hershey School
POTTSTOWN » As graduation season approaches, there is nothing more exciting than the anticipation of new beginnings.
No one knows that excitement better than the Oladipo triplets. The high school seniors — Olayiwola, Olajide and Abiola Oladipo — all of Pottstown, credit their school with changing the course of their future. All three siblings will be graduating from The Milton Hershey School this summer and said they have the school to thank for helping them achieve success that, in the past, they thought was not possible.
The Milton Hershey School is a cost-free, private home and co-educational school for more than 2,000 children from families of lower income. The boys entered the school when they were only 2 years old after one of their older siblings attended.
“My mom heard about the school through a family friend and did some research and applied for my sister. At the time, my mother lived in a shelter. Eventually she moved out but when we entered the school we were in a shelter. She was able to send us here and find a job and eventually move out of the shelter,” explained Abiola.
While at the school, students are cared for by a married house parent couple who have child-care experience and who are there to provide discipline, support and guidance, an aspect of the school that the three boys say has helped them tremendously in achieving their goals.
“They became a second set of parents for me and helped me grow and mature,” Abiola said of his house parents. “They had two kids, Natalie and David and they became like siblings to me.”
“We would go home and they would make sure we did our work,” added Olajide.
According to the school, students live in elementary homes and then move to middle division homes. In ninth through 11th grades they move to another set with a house parent couple who take care of 8-12 students of the same gender.
But it wasn’t just from their house parents that the boys said they received the help they needed for a bright future.
“Our teachers expanded our ideas. I wouldn’t think about the future. I would tell them I didn’t know. They tried to guide me and put me in that direction and explained if you want to go here, that’s what you need to do,” said Olajide.
As part of the school’s Graduate Programs for Success (GPS) Division, all Milton Hershey School students have the opportunity to accrue up to $87,500 in scholarship money to continue their education. Based on good behavior throughout their time at MHS and an approved post-graduation plan — which can include a university, community college or trade school — students receive their scholarship funds after they graduate. The school also offers guidance and support after graduation by pairing students with support specialists who assist with questions about academic, financial, social and emotional decisions.
With the school’s help, the Oladipo triplets will be joining the 66 percent of their school’s graduating class in heading to a four-year college after their graduation on June 10. Olayiwola and Olajide will be attending Villanova University next year while Abiola will begin his post-high school career at Lehigh University.
The three also have big plans for beyond college, including a desire to give back to the school and take their careers to new levels.
“I want to come back and be a part of the school’s board. I want to help with the school’s endowment and mission to reach out to more kids and help them focus on how to achieve their own goals,” said Olayiwola, who will be studying finance and accounting.
“I want a job in sports management. It’s always been my passion. I would like to work on that,” added Olajide, who will be studying business administration next year.
“I would love to work in aerospace industry. I always loved engineering, especially flight and space travel. I’d like to have a career in that,” said Abiola, who will be studying integrated engineering. “I also want to give back in some capacity. This school has given us a great opportunity. I would like to give that support to MHS. I would like to maybe serve as a teacher here later to give an opportunity to students so they can have a face to face with an alum of the school and give them some advice on what they have to do to become an engineer.”
For now, they are hoping that their story inspires others who may be in a difficult situation, financially or otherwise, to realize their dreams and find ways to make it a reality.
“I’m hoping that people read this story and are inspired,” said Abiola. “At the beginning, we really didn’t think about college. The teachers and parents helped guide us. They helped us realize where we want to be.”
“I want to come back and be a part of the school’s board. I want to help with the school’s endowment and mission to reach out to more kids and help them focus on how to achieve their own goals.”
— Olayiwola Oladipo
From left, Olayiwola, Olajide, Abiola Oladipo, are set to graduate from The Milton Hershey School. All three will be headed to a four-year university.