Chloe Bruce Hostetter had every intention of following in the footsteps of her mother and sister and grandmother, all nurses, and all graduates of the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College nursing program.
The 2014 Alleghany High School graduate started her journey at DSLCC with the goal of becoming a pediatric nurse.
During the first year, she had to have two major surgeries, one on each foot. Hobbling around on crutches didn’t prove to be insurmountable – the instructors were very understanding, she says – but she realized that working in the medical field was not really her thing.
“Being around all those medical issues, I thought, ‘I don’t think I can do this’,” she recalls.
Though she was accepted into the nursing program, she switched her major to education, completed her Associates Degree at DSLCC in two-and-a-half years, transferred to Mary Baldwin University’s Adult Degree program and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in three semesters. Despite a heavy academic load and working a part-time job, Hostetter managed to be a member of the Alpha Eta Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the academic honor society for two-year colleges while at DSLCC.
“My academic advisor at Dabney was so helpful,” she says. “She made sure I got the right classes I needed to complete my degree and transfer credits to Mary Baldwin. I even took a couple of classes outside of my associates degree that would transfer to Mary Baldwin, and that saved me some money.”
Hostetter was a recipient of the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Scholarship and the B. A. Rupert Real Estate Teenie & Warren Kegley Bubbles, Bands, & Brunch Scholarship through the DSLCC Educational Foundation, as well as several other scholarships, and was able to attend DSLCC nearly tuition-free. That was a blessing, she says, not only because of her surgeries, but also because her mother (now deceased) suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and could not work, and her father suffered a heart attack that same year. He’s since made a full recovery.
Hostetter persevered through very trying times while attending DSLCC. “We are extremely proud of all that Chloe has accomplished,” noted PTK advisor Jodi Burgess. “Even through some of the toughest times, Chloe was determined to complete her education. She not only reached her goals, but she did so with a level of excellence, having received multiple scholarship awards during her time at DSLCC.”
In addition to her scholarships, Hostetter was also recognized as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa All-Virginia Academic Team in the spring of 2017. The All-Virginia Academic Team distinction recognizes college scholars by saluting their academic achievement, leadership, and service.
She also credits DSLCC English associate professor Tondalaya Van Lear with encouraging her to pursue a career in education. “I can’t say enough good things about Mrs. Van Lear,” says Hostetter. “She guided me and answered all my questions.”
Soon after she finished up at Mary Baldwin, Hostetter was hired by the Covington City Public School System on a provisional basis and earned her Virginia license while teaching fifth grade. This year, she’s teaching sixth grade math at Jeter-Watson Intermediate School. Virtually, for the time being, of course.
Even with the pandemic and all of the challenges that every school system in the county has faced since last spring, Hostetter says she loves her job and spends many hours not only teaching virtually, but checking in daily with her students and their parents. Like every other teacher in the country, she’d rather be back in the classroom and is looking forward to seeing her students in person again in January.
In the meantime, she and her husband, Eric - they’ve known each other since high school – have something else to look forward to: They’re expecting their first child in March.
Hostetter is immensely proud of her family’s links to DSLCC. “I come from a long line of DSLCC graduates,” she notes. “My grandmother, Yvonne Browning; my late mother, Michelle Bruce; my sister, Brandi Bruce-Brown; and I all obtained our associate degrees through Dabney. All four of us have had great careers that were made possible through Dabney.”
“My family and I cannot thank DSLCC enough for the wonderful experience and our careers,” she adds. “I can personally say, that without Dabney, I would not be where I am today- educating and inspiring young minds. I recommend DSLCC every chance I get to those wanting to further their education. Our community is blessed to have such a great higher education opportunity for its citizens.”
Registration is underway for the spring 2021 semester. Classes begin January 19. For more information, and to get started, contact Student Services at 540.863.2820 or visit www.dslcc.edu.