MANOA (KHNL) - It's a phone call no one wants to receive, but for Stephanie Ferrell, she got that call during the first week of her freshman year.
She was told her older brother, Rickey had been murdered in her hometown of Los Angeles.
"It was a really tough time for me, it was a really tough decision that I had to make whether or not I was going to return here", said Ferrell.
At her mother's request, she returned to Hawaii, but as soon as she got back to the islands, tragedy struck again!
This time, she learned that her grandmother had passed away.
"I think that everything happens for a reason, even though it was a really tough time for me and a really sad time for me, I think this is where I need to be in order to get my education and further myself and make a better life for myself and my family."
This type of adversity would test anybody and for Stephanie Ferrell, life hasn't always been fair, but to the people who know her best, she's become an inspiration.
"well I think Stephanie Ferrell has experienced every emotion you can possibly experience as a young person. She's had a lot of ups and downs but she's really blossomed as a person and a player", said her volleyball coach, Dave Shoji.
So while her loved ones are no longer with her physically, Stephanie Ferrell knows they're never too far away, whether in the classroom or on the court.