Your Neighbor: Meet Hallie Foster
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Hallie Foster learned from the toughest situations that she could find meaning and purpose. Foster was one of two children in a family that moved frequently during her childhood because of her father’s career. “Like most kids who had to move, I always thought the place I was moving to would never be as wonderful as the last,” laughs Foster. The majority of Foster’s time was spent growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “I enjoyed playing soccer especially, and lacrosse,” recalls Foster. “When my dad got a job in Charlotte right before my senior year, I ended up staying back with my mom in Philadelphia as we sold our house.”
During Foster’s high school years, she was affected greatly by a boyfriend who committed suicide. Understanding what that meant and dealing with the confusion that accompanied this tragedy, proved to be upsetting. Foster, however, found solace at school. “I was overwhelmed by the support I received from my high school counselor to deal with the emotions that I experienced,” remembers Foster. “I knew that I wanted to impact children for the better, like I had been in that particular hardship. They had been such a comfort and resource to me.”
Feeling a sense of purpose in wanting to help other children, specifically elementary kids, Foster set off for orientation at North Carolina State University. “I was sitting in the orientation and was discussing major choices. I realized very quickly that they only had middle and high school teaching options,” notes Foster. “I know I should have figured that out sooner, but I quickly regrouped and looked at both Clemson University and East Carolina University (ECU) where they offer elementary education. A friend of mine had chosen ECU, which helped make me feel a bit safer about landing there for college.” Foster chose wisely because once she started her elementary education program for her undergraduate degree, she never looked back. “I got there and stayed right through my master’s in counseling program.”
Foster’s graduate school choice would prove also beneficial from a personal side. An avid fitness goer at the local student gym, Foster and her future husband, Josh, met by continuously bumping into each other at the recreation center. Josh had gone to West Forsyth, and Foster’s parents still lived in Charlotte. The young couple decided upon Clemmons to start their new life together.
“I had known early on that I wanted to be an elementary education counselor, but there weren’t any vacancies when I graduated,” recalls Foster. “I taught algebra at Reynolds High School for my first year, and liked it. But I knew deep down I wanted to continue searching for that counseling job. A position opened up at Vienna Elementary School in 2000, and I have been there ever since. I just love it there.”
Foster was able to really fulfill the passion of giving back to kids in other ways, too. For example, Foster and College Park Baptist Church help provide food and meals to 23 kids every weekend in need. For the holidays, Foster will take big meals, such as a turkey, to the kids. “The Vienna community and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) are incredibly giving. We have an angel fund where we are able to provide for children in need for things like shoes or clothes,” explains Foster. “If I go shopping for something for a child, the PTA would reimburse me. I love this element of helping children whose family might be struggling.” Foster is able to help with these special projects while also offering guidance and support.
Foster and Josh are the parents of three children themselves; ages ranging from 13 to 11-year-old twin daughters. “It dawned on Josh and I that for the next six years we will have children in middle school,” laughs Foster. “But I always wanted to be a mother. I always knew that about myself, too. My kids have given me so much.”
Our neighbor has found purpose in many ways that brings so much happiness and a genuine impact. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”