FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — One week after a high school graduate and her flight instructor died in a plane crash in Nassau County, friends and family remembered them during a candle light vigil Friday night.
The pilot, 18-year-old Alexis George, graduated from Fernandina Beach High School at the beginning of the month and had a full-ride scholarship to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
She was taking a flight lesson last week when the plane went down in the St. Mary's River.
Alexis' flight instructor, 66-year-old David Cuttino, was a Navy veteran on his last day of work with A-Cent Aviation.
Dozens showed up at Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport to remember Cuttino and Alexis for the sunset service. Several loved ones spoke and a pastor shared a few words before the group lite candles and prayed.
Alexis' father Michael George spoke to First Coast News. He said he’s grateful to see how many lives his daughter touched.
"[Alexis] loved the underdog. She's just a sweet all-around girl," Michael said. "We never had a crossword between us, and that's hard to say about a teenager today. I know I'm probably partial, because I'm her father. But she was a sweetheart, and I'm really going to miss her."
Many high school friends of Alexis, like Bridget Peeples, have been greiving alongside the George family this week.
"She was somebody I really admired and really wanted to be like," Peeples explained. "When I see her in school, I don't think I ever saw her frown. Ever."
Amy Chancey, a friend of Cuttino, told FCN he loved his family and opened his heart to everyone around him.
"Dave never met a stranger. I can honestly say one of the things that we're going to miss the most in aviation," Chancey said. "He was all aviation and all people. He liked to talk about flying, he liked to teach people flying. He was an excellent instructor."
Michael and Chancey say it's been a difficult week, but they are both overwhelmed with how the community has responded to the tragedy. They say the dozens who came out for the vigil show just how much Alexis and Cuttino were respected and loved.
A Celebration of Life service will be held for Alexis on Saturday at First Baptist Church at 1600 S 8th St. in Fernandina Beach beginning at 11 a.m. Cuttino's family is still making funeral arrangements.