Ellison senior outside hitter Breonna Fleming signed her letter of intent to play volleyball for Temple College on Monday evening.
The Boys and Girls Club opened the gym to Fleming’s family and friends to celebrate the moment as she has been a member since she was 7 years old.
Fleming’s choice to sign and play close to home was an easy one as she sees herself easily transitioning onto the Lady Leopard’s team.
“They were very welcoming when I first went to visit the college,” she said, “and they were like sisters, so that reminded me of my old team.”
Despite the rain and heavy fog, the Ellison volleyball team came out to support Fleming, sharing their favorite moments and memories of her as a great person, who lights up the room, a game changer and someone who got the team going when it was down.
Fellow senior teammate Kieran Means spoke to the crowd, hiding behind the podium as she got emotional at the idea of not playing with her friend after they signed to different schools in different states.
“I’m leaving a piece of me,” Means said as she began to cry, “but I’m proud of her to play volleyball and chase her dreams.”
Ellison head coach Sarah Stolley shared with those in attendance about once watching Fleming play when she was at Live Oak Ridge middle school.
“Pretty, pretty princess!” That’s what Stolley remembers Fleming’s mother, Fontella McCary-Williams, yell out every time she served the ball.
After watching her play, Stolley prayed she would end up at Ellison, and when she did, Fleming was part of Stolley’s first varsity team as head coach.
“Temple is getting a steal this year,” Stolley said.
Curtis Williams, Fleming’s father, remembers her as being the loudest cheerleader growing up until one day while he was helping her brother workout for basketball he called her her over to step in and play against him in their driveway.
Fleming came out with sandals on and still beat her brother.
“Man, she’s so competitive,” Williams said.
After that, he told his wife that with her competitive nature, she was in the wrong sport.
That fall she started playing volleyball.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today and without them,” Fleming said of her parents. “There’s a lot of dedication between traveling to away games or club season. I thank them for being dedicated through that journey with me.”
“I’m very proud of her,” McCary-Williams said. “This has been a love for her ever since she was a little girl starting off in elementary school.
“This has just always been a passion of hers, and she’s always wanted to go to the next level, and when they offered her this scholarship, she was just ecstatic about it.”
Ever since Fleming found volleyball, she’s seen it always fitting into her life and has a plan to keep it in her future.
While attending Temple she plans to learn as much as she can about the game she loves.
“I just hope the girls can help me out as a teammate, showing me how things go and what I can do to improve myself,” she said. “There’s always room for improvement so I hope they can push me to be on an higher level.”
Long term, Fleming aims to study physical education and transfer to Texas State in order to reach her ultimate goal of coaching volleyball.
As this next chapter in her life draws near, Stolley believes she just has to keep moving forward.
“The work ethic, the commitment, the dedication, the being a good teammate,” she said, “all the things she brought to me for four years, she just has to carry that over to Temple.
“They’re very lucky to have her, and I’m excited for her.”