Caroline Hoxton Named Recipient of Laurel Ridge’s Prestigious Ross Fellowship for Service and Scholarship

For Immediate Release:
October 16, 2015

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134



The Laurel Ridge Community College Educational Foundation has announced Caroline Hoxton of Winchester, VA, as the recipient of the 2015-2016 Ross Fellowship for Service and Scholarship. This is a prestigious student award that recognizes academic excellence, good character, and service to the community. The Ross Fellowship covers tuition and fees for the year, and provides a $1,000 stipend for textbooks and $750 for an approved technology purchase. Hoxton will also receive $1,000 upon completion of a yearlong community service learning project with the school nurse at Stonewall Elementary School. Hoxton will volunteer for 45 hours each semester.

Laurel Ridge Foundation board member Dennis Morris of Toms Brook served on the selection committee. “More than 40 students applied for this prestigious fellowship. I had the honor of interviewing the five finalists, and was very impressed by the caliber of Laurel Ridge students who applied. The future looks very bright.”

“My high school guidance counselor, Carmen Thompson, was instrumental in helping me apply for this fellowship,” said Hoxton, a 2015 graduate of Handley High School. She was a high school cheerleader, a member of the National Honor Society, and a Handley Scholar. She received her Certification as a Nursing Assistant in her senior year of high school and hopes to become a Nurse Practitioner in Pediatrics.

The Nurse Aide program at Handley was offered for the first time during the 2014-15 school year. It was created as part of the Valley Health Partnership whose membership includes Valley Health, Laurel Ridge, Shenandoah University, Our Health, United Way, and six public school divisions. The Partnership’s goal was to create multiple pathways for high school students to enter health service careers.

Brenda Byard, Laurel Ridge Dean of Business & Technology/Director of High School Outreach, hopes that Hoxton will continue her education in the healthcare pathway. “By obtaining her CNA in high school and doing well in science courses, Caroline would be able to receive extra points on the rubric used by the nursing faculty at Laurel Ridge in determining candidates for the Associate Degree in Nursing. We are proud of her accomplishments so far and she seems well on her journey to becoming a nurse which is a very high demand, highly skilled, and well paid profession.”

In 2013, the Laurel Ridge Foundation received a $1.4 million bequest from the estate of Charles Ross. Ross, of Front Royal, VA, was a WWII veteran and valued service to our country and community. He wanted the gift to be used for scholarships to help deserving students at Laurel Ridge who demonstrated strength in character and academic performance.

Hoxton maintained a high GPA throughout high school, excelled in extra curricular activities, but always found time to volunteer in the community. She assisted in blood drives and cooked meals with her father for the WATTS dinner for the homeless. She volunteered during the summers as an instructor for Little League Cheer Camp and chaperoned the Students with Special Needs Prom.

This semester Hoxton is taking Anatomy and Physiology, Sociology, Public Speaking and English in her quest to become a nursing student at Laurel Ridge. Every Thursday afternoon, she fulfills the service segment of the fellowship by assisting the school nurse at Stonewall Elementary School. “This fellowship has opened so many doors for me. I am able to fit something into my training that I really enjoy.”

The Ross Fellowship is a merit-based award, not a financial need-based award. The recipient must be enrolled at Laurel Ridge Community College as a full-time student (minimum of 12 credit hours each semester) for the Fall-Spring academic year. The recipient must also complete an approved service project. Hoxton is the second recipient of the Ross Fellowship at Laurel Ridge.


(Pictured left to right: Dennis Morris, Katy Reeves-both members of the Laurel Ridge Education Foundation Board who served on the selection committee for the Ross Fellowship and interviewed the finalists, Caroline Hoxton, and Dr. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy-President of Laurel Ridge)


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.