TULARE COUNTY, Calif. - Every week in partnership with the Tulare County Office of Education, we tell stories about South Valley students with great character.
For one student at Porterville High School it's not about the plaques or ribbons, it's about a silent work ethic which is quickly leading her straight to her dreams in becoming a medical professional.
As the president of JRMC, Vice President of HOSA, and executive board member of the American Red Cross, every day for Shelby Whinery is one step closer to her dream of becoming a pediatrician.
"I've always wanted to help people. I want to be someone who makes a difference in the world. I love kids. I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but I found out that I really want to help kids," she said.
The Porterville High School senior doesn't just stop there.
She also juggles concert choir, performance choir, JV cheer, tennis, and the Academy of Health Science.
Shelby uses her passion for medicine to inspire her classmates, one of the many reasons Porterville's EMT teacher Pamela Avila said Shelby stands out.
"It's encouraging. The other students pick it up too. She feels it's important for the community to see students in a positive way so she tries to present that. There's so much about Shelby. She just prioritizes, she's so organized," she said.
At any age, in any profession, strong character means everything.
"She is devoted. She is honest. She is trustworthy. All of the pieces. She is caring, very caring. All the pieces that go with Character Counts, citizenship is the last piece but you have to have all of the other pieces or citizenship doesn't really fill the bill. She has all of those piece and then some," said Avila.
For Shelby, leading with strong character comes naturally.
"In a school where there's over 2,000 kids it's easy to blend in. There's more to life than blending in and going with the norm. You have to stand out and be different. At the end of the day all you have to lay down on your pillow is your integrity," she said.