FRESNO, Calif. - Every week, we partner with the Tulare County Office of Education to tell stories about South Valley students with great character.
This week, we head to Visalia to profile a Tulare Union High School Junior and softball player who hits it out of the park when it comes to character.
Brianna Stephens is the catcher on the Varsity Softball Team, and she's caught the heart of the youth players she mentors.
"She is really nice to me and I've known her throughout softball and she is kind and sweet," said Tulare Thrills youth softball player, Kylee Robertson.
Brianna makes her mark on the mound, but it's not just her athleticism that has her coaches' attention.
"She has an amazing amount of character that some of us learned, but she was born with," said Tulare Union Softball Coach Amy Bailey. "It is something that comes from inside of her that can't be taught."
Coach says Brianna knows what's important, not the trophies or the metals, but the memories. Which is why Brianna gave one of her winning metal to a girl she coaches.
"I took my metal off and handed it to her and it made so my day just to see how much it made her eyes light up," said Brianna Stephens, a Junior at Tulare Union High School.
Brianna mentors girls on the youth softball team, the Tulare Thrills. One of the girls, Kylee Robertson, had this to say about Brianna: "She is my real life sister and she is always there for me."
Brianna is always there for others, despite having her share of up and downs.
"This past Christmas, on Christmas morning, my step dad passed away," Brianna said. "Even though he was only in my life for a short amount of time, the impact he had on my life was significantly great."
Dedicating her softball season to her step dad, Brianna continues to show strength and courage.
"She exemplifies what it is like to be committed to a team," her coach adds. "She is present every single day both in mind, body, and spirit for our team. I think we need each and every one of our athletes to do that."
Brianna Stephens of Tulare Union High School shows us why Your Character Matters.