KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT) -- Grant Currin from Cleveland and Alexandra Brito from Brentwood have been named the 2013 recipients of the Peyton Manning Scholarship at the University of Tennessee.
The Peyton Manning Scholarship is awarded annually to incoming first-year students who have been selected as Haslam Scholars. The program is now in its 16th year and has honored 20 students.
"We're proud to have Alex and Grant as our two winners this year," said Manning. "They really rose to the top in a very competitive field and a very strict selection process."
Manning, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek, and Provost Susan Martin joined the two honorees and their families in a June 17 ceremony in the Peyton Manning Locker Room at Neyland Stadium.
"The scholarship program has been a great connection for me to the University," said Manning. "I had a wonderful four years here at UT, and I wanted a number of other students to have the same chances and opportunities that I had. I can't believe we're in our 16th year and we have 20 recipients now. So many of them are working now out in the real world, and it's been a family and a great alumni system as well. It means a lot knowing how appreciative the students in the program are and how they took advantage of the resources and the wonderful opportunities here at UT."
Brito, who graduated from Franklin Road Academy, plans to major in French and biology at Tennessee. She was a four-year starter on the varsity volleyball team and served as team captain in 2012 while also playing guitar in both the jazz band and the pep band at the school. Brito was the leader of Gram's Game Day, a program affiliated with the Special Olympics and also participated with the Interact Club, a group whose many community service outings included delivering food with Second Harvest. Brito also volunteered with Thistle Farms, a Nashville-area women's shelter.
"It is such an honor to receive this scholarship," said Brito. "It's even more incentive to keep working hard and keep serving. The name on the scholarship and everything it represents means a great deal to me."
Curran, who graduated from Cleveland High School, was a two-team team captain and the number one runner on the school's cross country team. An avid half-marathon runner and master scuba diver, he plans to major in sociology at UT. He served as a Model United Nations delegate while also participating in American Legion Boys' State. Curran also volunteered through the docent program at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga.
"Receiving this scholarship means a lot to me," said Curran. "It's a great honor and is very humbling, and it will let me have opportunities that I wouldn't have had. This is really going to make a difference in my educational career."
Jessica Jarrell Poore, the 2005 recipient of the Peyton Manning Scholarship, also spoke at the ceremony about what the impact the scholarship has had on her life and academic career. She is currently pursuing her doctorate within the Department of Agricultural Leadership at the University of Tennessee.
Manning, a speech communication major who was at the top of his 1997 graduating class, is the career passing leader at Tennessee with 89 touchdowns, 11,201 yards, and a 62.5% completion percentage. During his four-year career at Tennessee (1994-97), Manning also received numerous awards that generated $165,000 in scholarship funds, including the Burger King-Vincent de Paul Draddy National Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, the Davey O'Brien Foundation Award and the American Honda Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
He has been named to 12 Pro Bowls, the most for any quarterback in NFL history, and is currently a member of the Denver Broncos. The 2013 season will be his 16th on an NFL roster, including 14 with the Indianapolis Colts (1998-2011) and the 2012 campaign with the Broncos.