Dr. Nikki Franke celebrates fifty years of coaching the Division 1 Women’s Fencing Team at Temple University this year!
I was a young inexperienced teenager when I walked into Coach Franke’s fencing room in McGonigle Hall for the first time. Looking back now, I didn’t know anything (competitive-wise) about my weapon, Sabre. Coming from Brooklyn, New York and fencing only on a recreational level at the Peter Westbrook Foundation, I had only one national tournament under my belt. But, Coach Franke was still willing to take a chance on me.
This is what makes Coach Franke the great coach that she is, the chances that she’s willing to take on young inexperienced fencers. After transitioning over to Sabre from Foil the previous year at the suggestion of my then coach Mika’il Sankofa, I had to sharpen up my skills asap to prove to Coach Franke that she wasn’t just doing me a favor. Along with the help and support of Zoila Palacio who was the Sabre & Epee coach at Temple University, I went on to become a three-time NCAA Championship competitor as well as an All-American fencer for Temple University. Compared to my teammates back home who were already going on to compete at the 2000 Summer Games in Athens, I was far behind.
However, with the support of Coach Franke and Coach Palacio, I was able to go on and compete and gain high results in several international senior world cups all over the world between the years of 2006 and 2015.
This year makes 50 years that Coach Franke has been coaching up the young ladies at Temple University. I’m so glad that I chose Temple University as my school back in 2000. This is definitely a decision that I never regret. Here’s to 50 more years Coach Franke! Hoot! Hoot! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word “Murraya” is defined as a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees (family Rutaceae) having pinnate leaves and flowers with imbricated petals. However, to a young 14-year-old girl from New Orleans, Louisiana by the name of Zaila Avant-garde, the word “Murraya” means a whole lot more than that!
On July 8th, 2021 Zaila Avant-garde made history by becoming the first African-American (Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica was the first Black contestant to win the title in 1998) to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the competition’s 96 year history. The event which was televised live on ESPN on Thursday evening drew a VIP crowd including First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden who was there to witness Avant-garde become a national champion! In addition to her spelling talents, Avant-garde also enjoys playing basketball and holds three Guinness World Records for dribbling the most basketballs at one time. She’s amazing! With everything going on in the world right now, it’s little victories like these that are so special.
Congrats to Zaila Avant-garde and all the contestants of this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee. Watch the video of Avante-garde becoming a national champion by spelling the word “Murraya” below. It was the twirl at the end for us! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3
“This is a lily white sport. Make no bones about it.” – Peter Westbrook
Peter Westbrook knows all about the sport of fencing. The six-time Olympic bronze medalist has been sending African-American fencers to the Olympic Games for the past two decades. I, myself started fencing at the Peter Westbrook Foundation when I was eleven-years-old and I’ve had the opportunity to know Peter Westbrook not just as an Olympian but as a human being. And trust me — they don’t make them like him anymore!
Next month for the Tokyo 2020 games, the Peter Westbrook Foundation will be sending a quarter of Team USA’s men’s fencing team to compete. This is something no other organization has done to date. Check out the cool news special CBS New York recently did highlighting the Peter Westbrook Foundation below. Good luck to my PWF fencing family at the Tokyo 2020 games next month. I’ve been knowing these Good Men all my life!! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3
Legendary Basketball Hall of Fame Coach John Thompson passed away surrounded by family at his Arlington, Virginia home on August 30th, 2020. In 1984, with the assistance of NBA legend Patrick Ewing, Coach Thompson became the first Black coach to lead an NCAA Division I basketball team to the national championship beating the Houston Cougars in the finals.
During his tenure with the Georgetown Hoyas (1972-1999), Thompson lead his team to a 596-239 (.714) winning record. Thompson who was a Washington D.C. native was also a two-time NBA champion playing for the Boston Celtics alongside Bill Russell from 1964-1966. In 1988 at the Seoul Olympics, Thompson served as the head coach for the Unites States Men’s basketball team.
Under Thompson’s instruction, retired NBA player and 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Allen Iverson would go on to set the Georgetown University record for highest career scoring average (22.9 points per game). In 2017, Patrick Ewing took over as head coach for the Hoyas. However, it’s obvious that no one will ever make the same mark in Georgetown that Coach John Thompson made. Rest well to a true sports legend!
#ThankYouVince for all your sportsmanship and best of luck with your media career! Check out Vince Carter’s podcast “Winging It With Vince Carter” via The Ringer currently streaming. -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ 🏀 ❤️
It was a Sunday Funday for Brooklyn Girl Code this past weekend when we spent the day at the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club with NowThis Sports! NowThis, a progressive American media website founded in 2012 by Huffington Post co-founder Kenneth Lerer and former Huffington Post CEO Eric Hippeau is known all over the world for its informative video content. NowThis Sports, a subsidiary of NowThis News will be highlighting the extraordinary sport of Fencing in a new video project and Brooklyn Girl Code’s very own Creator/Editor Aziza Hassan was requested by the video producers to be featured in the new video! But, it does make sense since Aziza is a Brooklyn Girl that loves to fence! 🤺
We’re so excited to see how this cool project turns out and we’ll be sure to let our loyal readers know as soon as it is released. But, until then, check out some cool behind the scenes footage from the shoot this past weekend in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Hey…. Is Brooklyn in the house?!?!
It was a crazy and very eventful Summer ’18 to say the least! While some people attributed all the weird and wild events to Mercury Retrograde, others claimed it was just the weather. Either way, #BrooklynGirlCode was there for every weird and wild news happening that occurred.
From the tragic news of Aretha Franklin’s passing to the craziest summer challenges (The Shiggy and Ray J Hat Challenge), we got it covered! Check out #BrooklynGirlCode’s biggest news stories of Summer 2018 below and let’s hope that the Fall 2018 season will be a little less chaotic!
We think this one might’ve shocked us the most. After announcing their official marriage in Las Vegas earlier this summer, singer Faith Evans and producer Stevie J had everyone asking questions. Like, “Whaaaaat?” But if they are happy and in love then we are happy for them! We can expect to see Faith Evans appearing on several episodes of the upcoming season of Love &HipHop: Atlanta, as well. Congrats to the couple!
Faith Evans featuring Stevie J, “A Minute”
After having a big Hip-Hop battle with Drake earlier in the summer, Pusha T decided to put the diss tracks on hold and marry long time girlfriend Virginia Williams. Celebrities in attendance included Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and his brother Malice who performed the nuptials. Sweet! <3
Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz decided to join in on the summer wedding trend and married his long time girlfriend Kesha Ward in a lavish ceremony in Miami, Florida on August 18th, 2018. Celebrity guests in attendance included Lil Wayne, Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian (again). Congrats to the lovely couple!
2Chainz and his mother dancing at his wedding in Miami, Florida on August 18th, 2018
When the temperature rises, you know what that means! People are heated and hands are going to get thrown! There were a few battles this summer, but we’re just going to go over the juiciest ones.
Cardi B and Nicki Minaj disappointed the “Upper Echelon Society” of New York City earlier this month by getting into a huge fight at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party at the Plaza Hotel during New York Fashion Week. This was a long time coming with these two Hip-Hop Divas. So, #BrooklynGirlCode wasn’t surprised at all.
After surprising the industry with her sudden marriage to Stevie J, Faith Evans wanted to make some more headlines and decided to get into a fight with long time rival, hip-hop soul queen, Mary J Blige. Allegedly, the two got into it at a party in the Hamptons being thrown by music mogul Puff Daddy. Both ladies later denied the allegations.
In good news, after watching Cardi B and Nicki Minaj go at it in public, Meek Mill and Drake decided to end their little quarrel and make up on stage in front of their fans. Awwww!
THE SUMMER’S BEST CHALLENGES:
Do the Shiggy! After a young popular blogger from Queens, New York made a dance video to Drake’s song, “In My Feelings” and posted it on Instagram, the whole world went nuts! Everyone was doing The Shiggy and Shiggy himself became an overnight celebrity!
Drake, “In My Feelings”
The Ray J Hat Challenge: Actor/singer Ray J Norwood decided to get in on all the challenge fun and had everyone wearing their hat in different ways after a video of him sporting his cap all kinds of ways went viral.
When we found out earlier this summer that Lezley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown) was running for Ferguson, Missouri City Council, we were overjoyed! After losing her son so tragically back in 2014, McSpadden decided to be apart of the movement to stop police violence and get involved in politics. We hope she wins!
Golf legend Tiger Woods came out of hiatus and shocked the masses by taking second place at the 2018 PGA Championships. Get ’em Tiger!
Colin Kaepernick made headlines when he partnered with Nike to promote his “Take a Knee” movement. Whether upset with Kaepernick or extremely happy for him, everyone was talking about it!
A young Naomi Osaka became the new U.S. Open Tennis 2018 champion, upsetting one of the greatest athletes of all time, Serena Williams.
“The Queen of Soul”
Aretha Franklin, “Won’t Be Long” (Steve Allen Show 1964)
Hip-Hop Artist, Mac Miller
The Carters did what they know how to do so well All Summer Eighteen… make that money $$$$$!!! Their On The Run II Tour broke ticket sale records and grossed millions!
And to cap off our biggest summer ’18 news stories, actor Geoffrey Owens of The Cosby Show fame got caught red-handed working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s. And believe it or not, it ended up working to his advantage! Movie mogul Tyler Perry offered Owens a recurring role on his hit show, The Have and the Have Nots. Go Figure!
See you all next summer (2019) for more hot and interesting news stories! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3
#BrooklynGirlCode will be heading to Philly this weekend to watch the lovely young ladies pictured above and the rest of the Division I Temple University Women’s Fencing team win at the 38th Annual Temple Open! The event which is the largest collegiate individual meet in the country will be held this year at the Liacouras Center located on Temple University‘s main campus. It’s always a joy to see the next generation of young Temple fencers compete and win knowing that I once was in their spot, fighting hard to get every touch to beat my opponent as well as my record from the previous season. Fencing is not an easy sport to compete in, however, the joy from winning each bout tops everything!
Dr. Nikki Franke who is currently in her 46th year at Temple is looking to lead her ladies to 1st place in every women’s individual event this weekend and judging from the past years, this is very accomplishable. Coach Franke, who was once my coach while I attended Temple has a stern but lenient way of coaching her fencers to victory that proves to work year after year after year. Good luck to everyone competing this weekend at the 38th Annual Temple Open. #BrooklynGirlCode will be in the building! “][“Uuu baby!!! <3
So many great things happened in the world of sports this past week, that we had to spread some of the love over here at Brooklyn Girl Code! Florida native, Sloane Stephens won her first U.S. Open title on Saturday, September 9th beating out Madison Keys who was the No. 15-seed. With this win, Stephens becomes the lowest ranked player (No. 83-seed) to ever win a women’s singles title at the event. Tennis great Rafael Nadal kept the winning spree going winning his third U.S. Open title (2010, 2013, 2017) on Sunday, September 10th beating out No. 28-seed Kevin Anderson in the men’s single final at the world famous Arthur Ashe Stadium. The two champions celebrated their well deserved titles with friends and family all week long. Check out some cool photos of the champs below.
While Sloane Stephens was celebrating her first U.S. Open win this past Saturday, my wonderful sport of Fencing was celebrating its own day! “World Fencing Day” which was created by the FIE (International Fencing Federation) in conjuction with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) celebrates the solidarity of the sport of Fencing all over the world. Fencing is most definitely a sport that is played in hundreds of countries worldwide. So, this day was long overdue. However, as a Fencer myself, I was delighted to see the sport finally get its own day! Check out some really cool pics of all the international Fencers celebrating “World Fencing Day” below.
Lastly, but certainly not least, one of my all-time favorites, seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady got inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. McGrady, who I always looked at as one of the more humble players in the NBA, gave an awesome enshrinement speech alongside his legendary players and peers at the ceremony held in Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday, September 8th. Watch the video below! Nothing but champions over here at Brooklyn Girl Code baby! Congrats to all the winners and honorees from this past week!
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