Student, Athlete, Role Model


Sara Hickman during her off season volleyball class. She won’t play for Cerritos College anymore but she still works hard to improve her jumps and skills to prepare for her next team.. Photo credit: Perla Lara

Perla Lara

When Sara Hickman entered kindergarten she became a student, when she played in her first sports game she became an athlete but when she entered Cerritos College she became a student-athlete.

For her that means striving for excellence and doing much more than just the minimum in both her academics and in her volleyball team.

Hickman graduated from La Mirada High school and after two years in Cerritos College she will be graduating with an associates degree in communication studies.

For Hickman doing more than what is required is the norm.

“I only needed 3 units for my associates degree but took a full schedule to get ahead for when I transfer, I am graduating with 77 units I’ve taken 18 to 21 units every semester here.”

Academics come first for Hickman who is a member Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

“If you have good grades if you have a 3.0, 3.5 or above grade point average you can go to a lot more options of where to transfer to. I know the difference between me getting a scholarship and another good volleyball player getting a scholarship is our grade point average.”

She has been accepted to University of California Santa Barbara and is waiting to hear from University of California San Diego.

Volleyball head coach Teresa Velasquez-Ortega said, “Sara is the perfect example of a student-athlete. A student-athlete has to be a student first, you have to keep your grades up or else you can’t play or transfer. If you want to keep playing the game that you love you have to transfer and keep playing.”

Love and passion for volley ball is what motivates Hickman to keep playing.

She said, “As an athlete you need passion and dedication. You need the dedication to go to practice even when you are exhausted and those who play the game with passion enjoy every second of the game including practice. People with passion practice and find value in their improvements.”

Hickman was originally a soccer, she played soccer for 12 years and during her freshman year in high school she also ran track.

However thanks to a friend and volleyball and soccer being active in different seasons she was introduced to volleyball. “Because we didn’t have any classes together my best friend suggested that we both join volleyball together. I loved it so I dropped everything and went to play volleyball full time.”

She added, “As an athlete you have to play for your team, if I make a mistake I let my team down, the girl next to me is trusting me to get to the ball. She trusts that I’m going to hit it after she sets it to me, if you play for yourself it won’t work.”

Last year Hickman was the co-captain on the team, Velazquez-Ortega said, “Sara had enthusiasm on the court, a competitive spirit, was the most positive on the court and brought the team together.”

What makes Hickman truly outstanding is that on top of her academic and her athletic responsibilities she is also a member of the ASCC and holds the position of Commissioner of Athletics in the ASCC Cabinet.

She also offers math tutoring to her fellow team mates. Velasquez-Ortega said, “She pushes her team mates to go to study hall and improve their grades and she also works with them one-on-one if they need to.”

Hickman also strives to change the stereotype of the dumb jock.

“That stereotype isn’t true anymore we student-athletes should set the example for others to follow and represent the hard work it takes to be both a student and an athlete,” she said.