Inside Scoop: Bethany Hoover

Bree Soule, Online Editor-in-Chief

Growing up, Publications Adviser Bethany Hoover lived in Swartz Creek with her mom, dad, older sister, Kim, and her family dog named Teddy who she got when she was 6 years old. When she was younger, Hoover developed a love for cooking— stemming from her mom and grandma.

“So many of my memories growing up center around being in the kitchen with my mom or my grandma and I hope to create those same memories for my own kids,” Hoover said. “If there’s one thing I learned from my grandma in life it’s that ‘food equals love’ and although I don’t cook or bake as much as I would like these days, food connects us all and creates memories that will last forever.”

While in high school, Hoover participated in numerous sports— including soccer, track and tennis— and sang in multiple choirs including Incantando and Madrigals, two audition choirs. 

She met her now-husband in middle school, however, they lost touch after high school, reconnecting after college in the fall of 2008. She said she made the two best decisions of her life that week: going on a date with her now-husband and accepting a job at Fenton High. 

Hoover and her husband have been married for eight years and now have two sons; Dominic, age four and Russell, age three— along with their Jack Russell Terrier named Maize.

“These days, when I’m not at school, my life centers around my little family of my husband and my kids,” Hoover said. “Throughout the pandemic, we have strived to keep life as normal as possible for them. That means trying to keep a consistent routine and finding creative ways to keep them busy. When it’s warmer out we often go outside for walks and bike rides or the kids play on their scooters. Before the pandemic hit we enjoyed taking mini road trips on the weekends to find new parks or playgrounds and new bakeries with donuts, two of my kids’ favorite things. Outside of the pandemic we also try to spend as much time with extended family as possible.  Our kids love playing with their cousins and visiting with grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles.”

Hoover always had the goal of teaching high school, which is how she started her career. However, she was transferred to work at Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School (AGS)— where she worked for nine years. Although she never saw herself as a middle school teacher, she grew to love it.

“I enjoyed the interactions with my students and the AGS staff felt like a family right away,” Hoover said. “It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made choosing to come back to the high school because I enjoyed my time at AGS so much. My new position at the high school has given me the change that I needed after nine years at the middle school. It has re-energized me and allowed me to utilize different skill sets and passions.”

Prior to her years at Fenton High and AGS, Hoover’s life took a turn when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at only 20 years old. Since then, she has discovered she has a BRCA genetic mutation which increases her risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

“I was fortunate to have realized for myself that something wasn’t right and I feel even luckier that I had a doctor that took it seriously at such a young age and sent me for testing,” Hoover said.

On Nov. 1, 2005, she started her first round of chemotherapy.  Hoover had chemo weekly for about 6 months, followed by several weeks of daily radiation therapy. She spent many of those days on the couch with her childhood dog, Teddy, who passed away not long after she completed her treatment.

“I remember telling my mom that he had been sticking around for me,” Hoover said. 

After completing radiation therapy, Hoover spent five years on oral hormone therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence.

“I learned things about myself during that time that I never wanted to learn but I also got to see the strength, love and beauty of so many family members and friends,” Hoover said. “It’s something that follows me every day, for better or for worse. I am thankful for those experiences in my life that help me to see the silver lining today.  The experiences that make me look at something hard or stressful and be able to think, ‘Well, it’s not chemo.’ But at the same time, each year when I go in for a screening, I wonder if this is the time it’s back. And now as a mom, the weight of facing a diagnosis like that is so much heavier. “

Hoover has fought through all the hard times and has discovered passions in between, such as traveling. One specific trip sticks out to her where she took a month-long trip out west, going to 14 different states and Mexico.

“Today, being somewhere other than home forces me to live in the moment and forget about the mundane everyday stuff like laundry and dishes,” Hoover said. “I was only six during that trip but I’ll never forget it. It’s only now, as an adult, that I can fully appreciate what a gift it was to us all for my parents to be able to have that experience with us.”

Hoover looks forward to being able to share her love for traveling with her two kids.

“I can’t wait until my boys get a little older so that traveling with them will be a bit easier,” Hoover said. “I have a dream of taking our family on an extended trip one summer to visit different countries and experience things that none of us have ever done before so that hopefully they will have some of the same memories that I was fortunate enough to make with my family when I was young.”

Hoover’s future now focuses on her family and kids, as she has already landed the career she wanted.

“I learned, through watching my own parents navigate their child’s cancer diagnosis, exactly what it means to be a parent,” Hoover said. “They’ve taught me so much in life through many different experiences but when I was diagnosed is one of the times that sticks out in my mind.  They never left my side and they put their own lives on hold in many ways to hold my hand— literally and figuratively— every step of the way.  If they could have traded places with me, they would have.  And now, although I wish to never experience this with my own kids, I hope that I always remember what it means to walk by my child’s side in every season of life.”