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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State student-athletes Janelle Currey and Tess Heidig were both selected to speak at the University's recent commencement ceremonies.

Currey's speech can be found by clicking here, and Heidig's speech by clicking here.

Currey, a four-year member of the volleyball team (2009-12), was selected to speak on behalf of the department of mathematics and statistics. Heidig competed three years for the Hornet rowing squad (2010-12), and spoke on behalf of the College of Health and Human Services (School of Nursing).

The pair became the first two student-athletes to speak at Sacramento State's commencement in recent memory, and both graduated with high honors.

In fact, Currey graduated Summa Cum Laude after finishing with a 4.0 grade point average while Heidig graduated Cum Laude with a 3.72 grade point average. Currey (8) and Heidig (7) were both named to the Dean's Honor List every semester of their enrollment at Sacramento State, and both received some form of Scholar-Athlete accolade during their careers.

Currey was named the Sacramento State Senior Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and was recipient of both the athletic department's Hornet Award and the Big Sky Conference's Scholar-Athlete Award. In addition, the Rocklin, Calif., native was a four-time Big Sky all-academic selection and three-time team captain. She started every match of her volleyball career, a span of 126 straight starts, the second longest streak in program history. An eight-time all-tournament selection, Currey became the fourth player in school history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs prior to her senior season. Among Sacramento State Div. I era (1991-pres.) career leaders, she ranks in the top 10 in six different categories. Moreover, Currey donates all her earnings as a peer mentor at Sacramento State to an orphanage in Africa.

Heidig, who is a Sacramento native, rowed for Santa Clara her freshman season before transferring to Sacramento State in the spring of 2010. She spent three years with the Hornets, and received the Four-Year Oar Award, which is given to rowers who compete collegiately for four years. Heidig was also the recipient of the Collegiate Rowing Coaching Association's National Scholar-Athlete Award in 2012 for her efforts on the water and in the classroom. During that senior season of 2012, she helped the Hornets' second varsity eight to a silver medal at the WIRA Championships. Heidig competed in three different seats that year, including five races in the three seat, two races in the four seat, and one race at bow. During her sophomore season (2010), she never missed a race with the second varsity eight and won silver at the Dad Vail Regatta, the first medal for the boat at the prestigious regatta in school history.


Janelle Currey
"Playing a college sport is something that I dreamed about since I was a little kid. I didn't know it was going to be volleyball and I didn't know it was going to be Sacramento State, but I'm glad it was. College athletics taught me incredible lessons about being a teammate, competitor, and leader. The truth is that the lessons we learn as college athletes are not limited to the gym. The challenges that we face on the court also present themselves in the classroom, in the workplace, and in all areas of life. Each and every one of us is shaped by our experiences, and I am thankful to have been shaped by the four years I have spent as a student-athlete at Sacramento State.

"I am a Hornet. I belong in the Green and Gold. I belong on Colberg Court. I could never imagine putting on any other jersey. This program has held a special place in my heart since I first started playing volleyball and I am honored to have been a part of it. Academically, Sacramento State is a truly special place. This is largely due to the caring faculty who invest in their students as learners and as people. I have had incredible professors who have taken a personal interest in me. They taught me how to think, challenged me, inspired me, encouraged me, and helped me discover my passion. I am genuinely grateful for all the people, both in academics and athletics, who work so hard to make Sacramento State a wonderful place."

Tess Heidig
"I never thought I could be a varsity athlete, and never knew I would be a nursing student, but through Sacramento State, this possibility became a reality. I learned the values of competition and hard work, which not only won medals at championships, but also helped me deliver quality care to my patients.

"Sacramento State has provided me with extraordinary opportunities, including being named a scholar-athlete. Rowing on the varsity women's team and taking my nursing school courses have taught me the ingredients required for success in life - discipline, teamwork and commitment. Through my Sacramento State experience, I am prepared for the future and will always be a Hornet."

Scott Farrand (Currey's mathematics professor)
"As remarkable as her performance in school work is, that's not what first strikes you about Janelle. It is her enthusiasm. I have never met anyone who loves mathematics as much as Janelle. She loves it for all the right reasons too, for its beauty. This makes her amazingly easy to teach, as she seeks out the cool ideas and jumps ahead of the class to find them.

"She loves math more than any student I have ever had. She works as hard as any student I have ever had. She is as committed to improving the world as any student I have ever had. Her potential as a teacher is as good as any student I have ever had. And she is at the top of the math majors I have ever had, in her ability to understand and do mathematics."

Denise M. Wall Parilo, PhD, RN (Heidig's professor and advisor)
"Tess is very bright, responsible and eager to learn. She was always open to feedback and constantly pursued opportunities for professional development. She volunteered for many on- and off-campus activities, and represented the School of Nursing well in each endeavor. Her volunteer work during the summer of 2012 was exceptional and allowed her to share her love of rowing with children from diverse backgrounds.

"One thing that stands out for me is Tess' ability to adapt to situations while maintaining a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity. I envision Tess as a true utility player who will be willing to try any nursing specialty and take the lead as a supervisor when given the opportunity."