South Point’s Elissa Whitcomb heading for the Air Force
By Alan Hodge
Graduating South Point High senior Elissa Whitcomb has as much energy as an F-16 fighter jet which is very appropriate as she intends to make a career of the U.S. Air Force.
The daughter of Jared and Stephenie Whitcomb, Elissa was born in Florida and also lived in Utah and California before coming to Belmont during her sophomore year. Her father’s job as a program manager for military/civilian contractors let the family see the country.
Whitcomb fell in love with Belmont right away.
“I really like the fact that the city government is involved with the community,” she said. “Also, everyone here knows everyone.”
During her time at South Point, Whitcomb has been very active in the JNROTC program and as a member of its color guard. She had previously been in the ROTC during her family’s second time living in Florida.
“I wanted to continue by being in the program at South Point,” she said. “It gives you leadership opportunities.”
Whitcomb has had her career path plotted out for quite a while.
“I knew I wanted to go into the military after graduation,” she said. “I was first interested in the Navy, but didn’t want to be stuck on a boat. The Air Force jobs fit me better.”
She thought long and hard before making a decision about what job she wants to do once she begins active duty.
“I considered being a remotely piloted aircraft officer,” she said. “But, I decided to be a cyber security officer. The Air Force is very heavy into cyberspace warfare.”
Whitcomb’s college world will be Air Force oriented. She plans to major in computer science with a minor in Chinese.
Her energy and intelligence earned Whitcomb an appointment to the Air Force Academy as well as an Air Force Type 1 National Scholarship. However, another opportunity presented itself.
“I went to the Air Force Academy last summer for a week,” she said. “I also dd a ‘shadow day’ at UNC-Charlotte last November. I decided to go to Charlotte and join the ROTC program there, it’s in the top ten percent in the nation. Every ROTC detachment gets one scholarship for an incoming freshman and the UNC-Charlotte commander gave theirs to me in addition to the one I already had. I will graduate as an Air Force officer.”
Whitcomb has made great use of her time at South Point and made a big impression on everyone there. Here’s what her counselor Chris Roberts said.
“Elissa Whitcomb is an individual that has one of the most remarkable levels of personhood and drive that I have ever seen,” he remarked. “Every time I saw Elissa in high school, she was either finding a way to challenge herself to be better or finding a way to make another person’s day even just a little bit brighter. The best way to describe her desire to care for others, is that she sees it as something she is grateful to have such an opportunity. I’ve seen her many times bring joy to the faces of peers and found that Elissa finds genuine joy in lifting the spirits of her community. I know she will continue to do this in the future and have a great positive impact on the people that have the gift of being around her. She has been a trailblazer for our female students, a leader and coach within our ROTC program, an example of professionalism and character each day of her high school career, and a great honor to work with. A truly amazing student and individual.”
Whitcomb summed up her time at South Point like this.
“I would tell students to get involved,” she says. “There are tons of clubs to take part in. Also, find out what career you want and pursue that dream. There are lots f opportunities to find what suits you, so take advantage of them.”
As for herself, Whitcomb can’t wait to don Air Force blue.
“I’m really excited about the next phase of my life,” she said. “I’m ready for the opportunities.”