The Dearden Leadership Academy (DLA) was born out of the Dearden family’s desire to offer leadership skill and character development programs to current MHS students and to honor Bill Dearden’s leadership legacy. The DLA is funded primarily by the Dearden Foundation, thanks to a generous contribution from the Dearden family. The DLA was initially designed to bring an overarching heritage-based leadership development program to students but was later expanded to include adults with a specially designed program for MHS Homelife staff.
The DLA training program, developed in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership, utilizes the experiential leadership model for which CCL is known worldwide and combines it with heritage-based learning. Program content and interactive learning provides a direct correlation to the leadership examples provided by both Milton S. Hershey and William E. Dearden ’40.
The Dearden Leadership Academy is currently an annual, five-day program for Senior Division students, their houseparents and other MHS staff. It is co-facilitated by CCL and MHS staff members and takes place primarily on the MHS and Dearden Alumni Campus.