Educator paves the way for others
Dr. Hezteine Foster of Phenix paved the way for many over her years in education and working in the community touching the lives of students, parents, and those in her community.
Foster has served as elementary school principal, middle school principal, high school principal, taught English, mathematics, social sciences, sixth and seventh grades and college courses in education and science education.
Foster encountered many firsts, as she was the first African American to be principal of Keysville Elementary School.
Being the first African American to integrate the Appomattox School system, Foster’s experiences were not so pleasant.
She said that after she integrated the elementary school, crosses were burned near her home. This went on for more than two weeks.
She was not sure who the target was until late one night, and as her husband came in from work and pulled up on the carport, a bomb went off in her mailbox, and she knew she was the target.
Foster recalls while attending Virginia Seminary and College (Virginia University of Lynchburg) one morning in chapel service, the president, Dr. M.C. Allen, said to the student body, “you are the educators, go back into your communities and help your people.”
“This statement stuck with me, and I have been trying to help people in my community and beyond ever since,” Foster said.
In community service, Foster has been involved with the Assembly of Charlotte as its president, and due to her service with the Assembly of Charlotte, she was invited to the White House to listen to a speech by President H.W. Bush on the “Points of Light.”
According to Foster, the Assembly of Charlotte helps the rural poor acquire housing, education, legal matters, as well as helping citizens to solve everyday problems.
Foster is also president of the Central High Museum located in Charlotte Court House, in which activities are planned to give the citizen of Charlotte County and surrounding counties history of their heritage and the struggles their fore-parents went through.
In addition, Foster held membership and served on numerous local, state and national boards. She is past president of the Charlotte High Alumni Association Inc., served on the Democratic committee, is a member trustee of the board of the Virginia University of Lynchburg, Appalachian Educational Laboratory and Small Rural Projects Task Force, State Department of Education Standards of Learning Objectives, National Testing Task Force and the Superintendent Task Force on Literacy.
Currently, Foster is director of academics at Legacy Education Center in Lynchburg.
The center works with Central Virginia Community College to offer a pathway to the Gainful Career Program, which teaches life skills education, academics, financial literacy and more.
Foster is the eighth of 10 children born to the late Bessie Randolph Robinson and the late Harry Robinson.
She grew up on a large family farm in a Christian home where moral values, sharing, love and respect were taught.
“My parents believed in the division of labor, and each child had a specific task to do,” she said. “My parents stressed education, challenging work and how to manage finances.”
Foster said those traits were passed down by her grandparents, who were farmers and property owners.
Foster and her late husband Thomas are the proud parents of two daughters, Joyce and Janice, five grandchildren: Terry, Brandon, Danielle, Mikayla and Raymond Jr. and four great grandchildren: Elijah, Christian, Bryson and Brenton.
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