Your Character Matters: Speaking out, standing up

Tulare Union High School's Volleyball Star Ashton Hamilton

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. - Every week in partnership with the Tulare County Office of Education, we tell stories about South Valley students with great character.

This week's story is one filled with tenacity. It's about one high school senior whose strong character stood firm even when times were tested.

Whether it's a bump or a pass this Tulare Union High school senior can juggle it all.

Varsity volleyball, Future Farmers of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, homecoming court, and AP classes are just a few of Ashton Hamilton's accomplishments.

"I've had so much fun because I've been involved, going to games, and meeting new people. Try to have fun and enjoy high school," she said.

A positive outlook she keeps even when life throws her the occasional curve ball.

Just about a month ago Ashton found herself in a situation where her character was put to the test. A group of her teammates were partaking in illegal activity on campus, Ashton found out, and spoke up.

"It looked like she had turned them in and she had let he friends down when she was trying to protect her friends and help her friends from making a bad choice," said Head Volleyball Coach David Schlick.

"Obviously it's high school. Even if it's losing people and losing friends I've been tested in that way," she said.

The group of volleyball players, no longer on the team. Her volleyball coaches David Schlick and Patrick Hamilton, also Ashton's dad, said that situation shook the squad.

"We had a real break down in character. Ashton was caught in the middle of it. She was trying to protect her friends and help her friends from making a bad choice," said Schlick.

A tough situation, but not one that could break the team down.

"I can't believe it happened to us, but man there's some good things that have come out of it," said Patrick Hamilton.

Now, the team is closer than ever.

"My volleyball team, they're like my best friends. They were there for me," said Ashton.

Ashton serves more than just on the court. She leads team prayers and chants before every game.

"She does the right thing all of the time. She does what's right. That's such a rare quality," said Schlick.

"I am in this stage where I'm in my last season with her, and I'm super proud of her. She's an amazing young lady. She keeps getting stronger and stronger. There are times she's teaching me," said Patrick.

Ashton said she wants to be a high schooler who stands out.

"Trying to stay true to yourself and not trying to conform to ways of the outside world and knowing who you are," said Ashton.

She said she finds her strength from above.

"Definitely in Christ. Through Him I can do all things. He just gives me strength. Work at all things as if working for the Lord," she said.

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