Former Volleyball Great Wins Brazilian

Dec. 21, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Jayhawk volleyball star Jana Correa won “O Aprendiz,” along with the R$1.5 million ($800,000 U.S.) prize, on the Brazilian version of the American reality TV series, “The Apprentice,” on the televised finale Tuesday night.

“It’s heartwarming after seeing all the kid has gone through,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “She has always talked about finishing school and getting a good job to help her family back home. This will really allow her to do that.”

Correa, who went by “Janaina de Melo” on the Brazilian TV show, and Renata Tolentino competed in the grand finale of the eighth season from the Latin America Memorial in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In the final competition, the two apprentices were evaluated by the task performed in Washington, D.C.

The two were asked to promote and market the brand of a computer company. To successfully complete the challenge, candidates had to cope with the language barrier and lack of local market knowledge. Correa, who won seven of the show’s 15 challenges this season, waited for the announcement after all evaluations had been submitted. The show’s presenter John Doria, Jr., then declared Correa the winner. The ecstatic Correa was met with a rush of fans before finding Doria for a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“She was always very strong-willed and very determined, so this isn’t a surprise to me,” Bechard said. “But it is definitely unique. She had to travel back and forth from Brazil to the U.S. quite a bit this summer and she found a way to pay her own way. That’s a testament to her being a dreamer and finding a way to make it happen.”

In addition to the R$1.5 million, Correa also received a new car and a picture by the artist Romero Britto, valued at $50,000 (U.S.). A marketing major and at Kansas, Correa also began her Masters in Latin American Studies at KU.

A member of the Jayhawk volleyball team from 2003-2006, Correa was a vital piece of all three of Kansas’ NCAA Tournament appearances (2003-05). The Macapa, Brazil native is on KU’s top-10 all-time career kills list. During her four years at Kansas, Correa averaged 3.60 kills per set – only two Jayhawks in program history recorded more.

“She symbolizes what we tell our players,” Bechard said. “We tell them to have dreams and go after them, and that’s what she did. She’s a believer.”