Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of features highlighting area graduates.

ELLSWORTH -- Ava Billeter is passionate about medical science, loves helping others and enjoys reading. She works as a certified nursing assistant and plans to study nursing at Winona next fall.

“I really love the holistic approach to caring for a patient in which all of their physiological needs are met, but also their need for love and belonging and self-esteem.” Billeter said.

Billeter lives with her mom, Tami, dad, Justin, sister, Isabel and their two dogs in the Ellsworth area.

“I am very close with my family, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without their unwavering love and support,” Billeter said.

Growing up, Billeter spent the majority of her time reading, playing dress up or playing with her dolls.

“I distinctly remember a time when I was about 8 years old when my mom told me to put down my book and go play outside,” Billeter said. “I complained, but I ended up reading my book as I went down the slide.”

At Ellsworth High School, Billeter played volleyball and ran track for about a year before deciding that it wasn’t for her.

“I put two and two together and figured out that I was not athletic in the slightest,” Billeter said. “I decided to devote my efforts elsewhere. I focused on my career goals, and joined different groups that I thought would assist me in becoming a nurse.”

She got involved with the National Honor Society, joined a youth apprenticeship program on the health sciences track and became a youth advocate for Wisconsin’s PATCH -- Providers and Teens Communicating for Health.

“In NHS, I felt like I was a part of something very special because I got to help plan Red Ribbon Week at our school. I was a member along with some of my very kind and intelligent classmates, and just to be associated with the same group as some of these people was an honor in itself,” Billeter said.

When Billeter’s uncle died during her junior year, she was grateful that she could lean on her teachers, friends and family to help her grieve.

“I had my incredible friends to help me through, as well as the teachers who continuously checked in on me and genuinely wanted to know how I was doing,” Billeter said. “The people in the Ellsworth High School have changed my life, and will continue to leave a mark as my absolute favorite experience in high school.”

When Billeter isn’t participating in school activities, she works at Ellsworth Health Services.

“The thing I am most proud of is my CNA license,” Billeter said. “I am now able to make a difference in the lives of the residents that I work with, and I have a special place in my heart for each and every one of them.”

After graduation, Billeter will be attending Winona State University to major in nursing. 

“I really believe nursing is the backbone of health care because of the care that they provide to the patients,” Billeter said.

Billeter is excited to continue her education, but calls it a bittersweet moment because she will miss all the great memories Ellsworth has given her.

“In my high school experience, the people in the school were what made my time at Ellsworth extraordinary,” Billeter said. “The amount of laughs, tears, and dreams that I have shared with my classmates and teachers is something that will always hold a special place in my heart. Ellsworth is such a special place for this reason.”

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