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May 13, 2016

Faces of Fauquier: Teen soars in and out of class

Elise Wheelock will attend the University of North Dakota and hopes to major in commercial aviation.
I love the feeling of takeoff. There’s this moment when you come unstuck from the ground. You’re on the ground and feeling gravity and, all of a sudden, you’re not. It gives you a wonderful sense of freedom and empowerment.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
At the age of 17, she already holds a pilot’s license and will graduate Suma Cum Laude on Saturday with her high school diploma and college associate’s degree.

But, Elise Wheelock still has a long list of goals.

This fall she will attend the University of North Dakota and hopes to major in commercial aviation.

“Professionally, I would love to be a rescue pilot,” Elise said. “Everyone keeps telling me I need to learn how to fly helicopters to be a rescue pilot.”

With 75 hours of flying in engine-powered planes and eight hours in gliders, Elise earned her pilot’s license last August.

Her participation in the 2014 “Women Can Fly” event at the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport sparked her desire to earn a pilot’s license.

“I absolutely fell in love,” Elise said. “There was no going back. Before, I wanted to be an actress.”

With a scholarship from the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots, she earned the license flying a Cessna 162 in 10 months.

“I’ve always been one of those people who love high places and tight spaces. I love the freedom. You can go anywhere and do anything in an airplane,” Elise said. “I love the feeling of takeoff. There’s this moment when you come unstuck from the ground. You’re on the ground and feeling gravity and, all of a sudden, you’re not. It gives you a wonderful sense of freedom and empowerment.”

Elise took dual enrollment classes at LFCC Fauquier’s campus to earn her high school diploma and associate’s degree.

Elise says her parents have been extremely supportive through homeschooling, aviation and her enrollment in college at a young age.

“My parents wanted to give their children the best education they possibly could,” she says.

• Age
17

• Home
Boston, in Rappahannock County.

• Work
Warrenton-Fauquier Airport at Aviation Adventures flight school, part-time, October 2015 to present; Belle Meade Day Camp, summer camp counselor for four summers; Wheelock Web Works, her father’s web design company in Little Washington, 2013.

• Why do you do the job?
It’s a really cool environment. I learn a lot just hanging out there. They say if you ask any pilot about flying, you will hear a love story. That’s definitely true for me. Flying doesn’t run in my family. I’ve always been obsessed with flying. Not necessarily with airplanes, but I was convinced as a child I would grow wings. I also wanted to be an inventor so I would build myself wings out of cardboard.

• Family
Parents, Tobey and Jennifer; brother, Elijah.

• Education
Lord Fairfax Community College, Fauquier campus, dual enrollment, 2014-16. She will receive her associate’s degree in science and her home school high school diploma on Saturday. Warrenton Latin School, homeschool co-op at the Warrenton United Methodist Church, 6-10th grade; homeschooled since first grade.

• Civic involvement
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at LFCC; calculus tutor.

• Why do you spend time in Fauquier?
There is a lot more here than in Rappahannock County. I love Rappahannock, it’s so beautiful, but this is the closest community college to me. Also, professor Martin has been one of my teachers since I was 11 and she works at LFCC. We already knew her. I did my training at the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport because I could have Doris as my flight instructor.

• How do you describe this county?
I’ve had more experiences with Warrenton. But, everyone is nice. It’s very pretty. There is a lot of fun stuff to do, although there is not a movie theater. Instead of a landfill next to the college we should have a movie theater and a Chipotle.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
Add a movie theater, definitely.

• What do you do for fun?
Fly. Spend as much time outdoors as possible which encompasses reading books, climbing trees, and cart wheeling. I love theatre. I’ve been in plays with the TORCH Drama Club in Warrenton and the Rappahannock Community Theatre.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
In the LFCC library, in the back left corner, Study Room 8, with a huge window. Nobody ever finds you in there.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
I think it could go either way. There is pressure from Rappahannock which is ‘don’t build’ and the pressure from Gainesville which is ‘build everything now.’ Fauquier is kind of in between the two with ‘maybe we should build something but not everything.’ But I definitely think they should build a movie theater.

• Favorite TV show?
I don’t have TV. But I have Netflix, so I can watch TV. I’m pretty bad at sitting still, but I like books. I really like Downtown Abbey on Netflix.

• Favorite Movie?
“10 Things I Hate About You,” “The Princess Bride” and “Despicable Me.”

• Favorite book?
That’s like asking your parents to pick their favorite child. Most recently I read “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. I like the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series.

• Favorite vacation spot?
The beach with family.

• Favorite food?
Coffee ice cream.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My flight instructor, Doris Gatewood, told me the best way to do something that no one else thinks you can do is to do it with aplomb.

• Who’s your hero and why?
Probably Doris Gatewood. She was my mentor, my inspiration, the one who did everything I wanted to do and now she has moved to Alaska. She was an airline pilot. She got her pilot’s license when she was 16, back when that was legal. She was the chief flight instructor at Aviation Adventures at the airport. She could do anything. Somehow it never occurred to her that no one could ever not do something.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
If I were old enough to play the lottery and I won, I would buy an aerobatic plane and take lessons. And pay for my college, my brother’s college and cousin’s college; tell my grandparents to retire.

Suggest a profile candidate
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Veteran cop mentors middle school students.

• Paul Bernard works behind the scenes as a civil engineer for the Town of Warrenton.

• Bob Rankin makes sure things sound right.

• Mary Root works for Remington’s prosperity.

• Law becomes the family business for William Ashwell.

• Eddie Wines logs four decades on patrol with the sheriff’s office.

• Kelly Kraft greets Wawa customers with a smile and a song.

• NAACP leader James Kelly wants to contribute.

• Lora Gookin trades career as civil engineer for that of bakery owner.

• Remington Baptist Pastor David Blevins devotes himself to helping others.

• Civics a passion for Fauquier election poll worker Ben McCartney.

• Philip Mulford makes a career of the search for middle ground.


• “Midland to the bone,” says native Matthew Smith.

• Sherrie Carter’s creativity becomes her business.

• Starting her career, Liberty graduate Judy Heflin wants to be a great teacher.

• Social Services Director Jan Selbo has devoted her career to helping others.

• Jim Cirillo’s call to Casanova extended.


• Don’t tell Angela Deal, Ms. Wheelchair Fauquier, that she can’t do something.

• FHS graduate and business owner Cathy Dodson finds all she needs right here.

• Mike Harvey’s sweet work takes lots of sweat.

• Warrenton native Joan Williams still serving her community.

• Classic cars consume engineer Matt Innocenzi’s free time.

• Wood transformed in the hands of Edward Fox.

• Earl Arrington serves printing customers and his community.

• Michael Hughes wears music, threater and equestrian hats.

• Store in Goldvein part of Susan Leopold’s family legacy.

• County native Maggi MacQuilliam devoted to the great outdoors.

• Health care for the needy Rob Marino’s mission.

• Daphne Latimore focuses on human capital.

• Horses extend Louise Summers’ work as teacher.

• As volunteer coach, Jeff Budd develops young wrestlers.


• Fraces Allshouse’s jobs focus on preservation.

• Jessica Smolinski’s book introduces children to Old Town Warrenton.

• Margaret Rice’s job all about fitness and fun in Warrenton.


• Robert Sturgeon has built his 70-employee businesses in Bealeton from scratch.

• 4-H leader Zach Woodward relishes the lessons of farming.

• Hospital auxiliary volunteer Alison Lee also earned fame in drag racing circles.

• Highland School veteran staff member Lise Hicklin always wanted to teach.


• As 9-1-1 dispatcher, Kateland Rich works to maintain calm during crisis.

• Chaplain Liz Danielsen finds a giving community.


• 9-1-1 response in Rodney Woodward’s bloodline.

• Fast talk a tool of the trade for auctioneer Kathy Shumate.

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.

• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.


• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.


• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.


• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.


• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.


• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton
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