2023 Dr. Billie Willits Memorial Scholarship Awarded to Holidaysburg Grad/Saint Francis Freshman Gavin Ross

(Altoona, PA)   Gavin Ross, a graduate of Holidaysburg Area High School was awarded the 2023 Dr. Billie Willits Memorial Scholarship from the Skills Foundation.  Now a freshman at Saint Francis University, Ross received $3,000 toward his education from a scholarship fund to benefit the children of employees of Skills of Central Pa.  The annual presentation honors the memory of long time Skills Board Member Dr. Billie Willits. 

Ross maintained a 4.0 grade point average as a Holidaysburg student and was an active volunteer in the community.  As a member of the Key Club, a volunteer for the Women’s Club Food Drive and a volunteer tutor at the Public Library and at his high school, Ross admirably gives back to his community.  In the latest chapter of his academic career, Ross is studying chemistry at Saint Francis University as a full-time student.   

Ross was eligible for the scholarship because his mother, B.J. Johannides, works as a behavior support specialist for Skills of Central Pa in Blair County.  Ross’s application and essay were selected by the scholarship committee of the Skills Foundation, citing several of the factors mentioned above, which made him a deserving recipient. 

The Dr. Billie S. Willits Memorial Scholarship is presented in honor and memory of Dr. Willits who was a member of the Skills of Central Pa Board of Directors for 20 years, including two terms as board chair. Dr. Willits passed away in 2019 and has truly left a void.  She was as a dedicated supporter of the Skills mission as well as the Centre County communities.