Energetic, giving, and dedicated, Cheryl Repetti, 47, of Centreville's Sequoia Farms is a reminder that one person truly can make a difference. Recently named Lady Fairfax, Repetti won’t be slowing down anytime soon. As the President of Friends of Historic Centreville, Secretary for the Centreville Community Foundation, and volunteer at E.C. Lawrence Park, Repetti exemplifies all of the qualities of a strong leader and outstanding citizen.
Supervisor Michael Frey (R-Sully) who nominated Repetti says, “She has devoted countless hours to the citizen’s work group to expand the Centreville Historic District and to get all of the structures in the Historic District included in the National Register.”
ADDITIONALLY, Repetti has helped to plan Centreville Day for the last three years, and was also on the board of directors at Centreville Preschool, Inc., which is a parent-run nonprofit cooperation, while her two children attended.
But in Repetti’s eyes, she is volunteering her time doing things that she cares about and enjoys. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cooper Union and a Ph.D. in sociology from George Washington University, it was the history of Centreville that sparked Repetti’s interest several years ago.
Repetti noticed and became interested in many of the old buildings and structures in Centreville's Historic District, located near Centreville Preschool Inc. and Jamie’s General Bean. Tucked between I-66 and Route 29, the area has been protected from the development along the highway, but is also frequently missed. “The fact that many people drive by but have never come back here to see it has kind of started the push to preserve and expand the historic district,” says Repetti. “Right now we’re working on building a trail people can use to see the different sites.”
Several years ago, less than 15 acres of land were protected. Now with the help of Friends of Historic Centreville and other local organizations, more than 50 acres of land are protected. What many people don’t know is that in just 50 acres it’s possible to walk by structures that date between the 1730s and 1950s.
There is Mt. Gilead, the rice property, St. John’s Church, and the old stone church to name a few. One of Repetti’s favorites is the land where Newgate Tavern used to stand while George Washington was alive. “We know that George Washington visited Newgate,” says Repetti. “Each inn was about 20 miles apart and this inn was 20 miles from his home in Mt. Vernon so he probably ate lunch here.”
FOR REPETTI, making people aware that there is something worth saving is what her efforts are all about. “History distinguishes Centreville from every other little town and preserving historic buildings also keep a town’s unique identity,” she says. Repetti also mentions that awareness of the past gives awareness of the future, and that there are lessons we can learn from our past that might help future generations.
As for being named the new Lady Fairfax, Repetti is pleased and honored. “I’m really in disbelief,” she says, “and I did spend about 10 minutes trying to talk Frey out of it.” When asked why Repetti stated that so many other people in Centreville put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to improve the community as well. For example, many volunteers spent hours doing research on Centreville’s history before trying to add Centreville’s historic district to the National Register was even possible.
But Frey told Repetti she represented all of those people and their hard work too. “Her devotion and compassion to family and community have helped to make the Sully District a truly special place and, therefore, she is a wonderful representative for Lady Fairfax,” said Frey.
Repetti is just happy to help where she can by placing a strong emphasis on reaching common ends and teamwork. When asked what she was proud of she mentioned her volunteer work in recent years. Originally from New York, Repetti said, “I’m proud to come to a region where I feel like I can really make a difference, and it’s very exciting.”
But what Repetti is most proud of is her family. In addition to all of her extracurricular responsibilities, Repetti is also the proud mother of 7-year-old twins, Sarah and Anthony. “I love being a mom of two great children and my husband has been a terrific and supportive person.”
As for her children’s interests, it seems at least one of them may continue in her line of work one day. “My son was saying he wanted to be an archaeologist for awhile,” says Repetti. “But we’ll see.”
For more information on the Friends of Historic Centreville, visit www.savecentrevillehistory.org.
For more general information on Centreville visit www.centrevilleva.org.