As the twentieth-century drew to a close, the School’s Board of Managers creatively interpreted the Founder’s mission and tried to turn the refuge for extremely needy children into more of a middle-class boarding school. The alumni “Homeguys” challenged the Board and, after a decade of legal struggle and national publicity, won the battle to reclaim the soul of the school.
Johnny O’Brien, an orphan who lived at the school growing up, helped to lead the successful alumni protest. In a shocking turn of events, he was then selected to become Milton Hershey School’s eighth president and tasked with restoring the mission, morale, and character-building culture of “the Home.” He would need all his orphan resilience, Princeton and Johns Hopkins wisdom, and his good friends, to transform this unusual and remarkable school.
In a riveting and haunting account, O’Brien tells a universal story about the vulnerability of needy children, describes the madness that consumed his beloved brother, explores the cruelty of bullies—both young and old, exposes the corrupting influence of money, and shows how the Milton Hershey School continues its sacred mission of saving thousands of America’s neediest children.
See the website for the book at semisweetbook.com.
|Publisher:||Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
1: Marching Home
3: The Founders
4: Barnyard Jungle
5: Frankie’s Story
6: Going over the Wall
7: MHS Loses its Way
8: Meltdown in Chocolatetown
9: The Restoration of Mr. Hershey’s Vision
10: The Politics of Righting the Ship
11: The Circle Closes
12: Lessons Learned
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Some stories are interesting, some stories are entertaining, and some stories just need to be told. Johnny O'Brien's story in "Semisweet" is one of those that need to be told. His story is a triumph of the human spirit in every way. It is a story not just of survival, but of overcoming significant obstacles to become in every way a successful, caring and accomplished person, who has given back to the very institution that both encouraged and encumbered him in his formative years.. I am privileged to be his teammate, classmate and long life friend starting with our first meeting at an all-star football game the summer before we both went to Princeton. I had some knowledge of the heartbreak that Johnny experienced in his years at the Milton Hershey School, but his book brings into even greater clarity the hardships of his journey starting with the sense of abandonment, the loss of his brother, and his ability to overcome significant obstacles along the way to success. The book is an easy read and a great story. The actual person of Johnny O'Brien is even better.