KATE WILLIS OF AUSTIN COLLEGE, a junior on the women's tennis team, has been named the SCAC Character & Community Female Student-Athlete of the Week for the week beginning March 21, 2016.
The SCAC honors the efforts of student-athletes who excel in the field of athletics, and also serve their campus and community.
Kate Willis has been contributing to the Austin College women’s tennis program ever since arriving on campus, posting eight total wins during her sophomore season and earning All-Conference accolades, while also excelling in the classroom as a member of the SCAC Academic Honor Roll.
But Willis has been contributing well beyond just her own academic and athletic successes, helping both in her home community of Friendswood, Texas, as well as in Sherman. Through Austin College’s JanServe and the Service Station, Willis has been an active volunteer with Special Olympics. The junior has helped out not just with Special Olympics events at Austin College, but also at the Special Olympics Texas Summer Games.
In addition to her work with Special Olympics, Willis has volunteered as a math and English tutor for eighth graders, a worship leader at her hometown church, and in the past has organized school-wide fundraisers and canned food drives. She’s also worked as a nursing home volunteer, as well as doing work at a nonprofit camp for scholarship and disabled students.
Willis came to work in the nursing home, which had previously been where her grandmother lived, when her grandmother passed away. In an effort to both give back to the home and cope with the loss of her grandmother, Willis became a special events assistant, visiting the nursing home each day to help with meals and snacks, and also played games with the residents. She used the time to provide friendship to the residents, working with them on puzzles and crafts, and helping to organize larger events such as dances.n her work at the nonprofit camp, KidsU (which was hosted by the University of Houston-Clear Lake), she worked with disabled and underprivileged children. Working in a classroom with these children, who received scholarships to attend the camp, she helped with lesson plans, played games, supervised outdoor playtime, and helped the kids learn to be sociable with their peers.