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#CoachFranke Celebrates 50 Years of Coaching Division I Women’s #Fencing at #TempleUniversity

Coach Franke and former Temple Fencer and #BrooklynGirlCode Creator, Aziza Hassan pose at the 2021 Temple Open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Nikki Franke celebrates fifty years of coaching the Division 1 Women’s Fencing Team at Temple University this year!

Coach Franke and former Temple Fencer and #BrooklynGirlCode Creator, Aziza Hassan pose at the 2021 Temple Open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Coach Franke (right) and former Temple Fencer and #BrooklynGirlCode Creator, Aziza Hassan (left) pose at the 2021 Temple Open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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

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The 38th Annual #TempleOpen Goes Down This Weekend at #TempleUniversity!

Temple University Division 1 Women's Fencers from left: Auset Muhammad (Junior), Safa Ibrahim (Senior) and Blessing Olaode (Junior)

Temple University Division 1 Women's Fencers from left: Auset Muhammad (Junior), Safa Ibrahim (Senior) and Blessing Olaode (Junior)
Temple University Division I Women’s Fencers from left: Auset Muhammad (Junior), Safa Ibrahim (Senior) and Blessing Olaode (Junior)

 

#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

Temple University Junior Epee Fencer, Safa Ibrahim of Bronx, N.Y. showing her best fencing side
Temple University Junior Epee Fencer, Safa Ibrahim of Bronx, N.Y. showing her best fencing side.

 

Temple University Head Fencing Coach, Dr. Nikki Franke with #BrooklynGirlCode Creator and former Temple Fencer, Aziza Hassan at Temple University on October 29th, 2017.

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The Side Effects of #MassGentrification in #NorthPhilly and #AnyTown, U.S.A.

Temple Univerity, North Philly, Mass Gentrification, Temple University Police

This past Friday on October 21st, 2016 at approximately 8:30pm EST about 150 teens gathered on Temple University‘s North Philadelphia campus in front of the Pearl Theatre. The teens allegedly gathered after being called together via a social media post. Once the kids who were said to be between the ages of 14-17 years old congregated, they began attacking Temple University students, parents, police officers and even punched one officer’s horse in the head twice. In what seemed to be a well-organized revolt against Temple University Police. By the time the attack was over, there were only about four arrests made.

Why did the kids of this North Philadelphia neighborhood decide to come together and go on this crazy rampage? The only thing I could think of is mass gentrification. I myself am a graduate of Temple University (School of Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising ’04) and prior to graduating, the extreme renovation of Temple University’s North Philly campus was in its early stages.

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A crowd of kids gathered on Temple University’s North Philly campus on 10.21.16 and went on a violent rampage. Image via The Washington Post.

Now when I return to Temple’s campus once or twice a year to help out my college Fencing coach and Temple University icon, Dr. Nikki Franke with some of her various competitions (which I myself once competed in), I can see the plan that the university had to take over the entire North Philly area finally coming into fruition. It’s obvious. But, what about the the families who have lived for decades on these blocks and in these buildings that Temple has been taking over at such a rapid pace? What about the people being pushed out of their homes so Temple can build new buildings and facilities and hire other employees who more than likely aren’t even from the neighborhood and have no connection to the neighborhood whatsoever? You’re going to have a lot of angry folks and this time around it was the kids of North Philly saying “Look, we’ve had enough!” Mass gentrification is taking place all over America right now and the truth of the matter is we’re going to see more of these type of events happening due to a whole bunch of people (kids included) being fed up.

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Photo via @az_duz_it‘s Instagram and The Washington Post

When I was a student at Temple University, I tutored at a program organized by the university called “Temple Tutors.” Temple University students currently enrolled at the school would go to the various schools in the area and tutor students during and after school hours. I was pretty disgusted everyday I walked into the schools I was tutoring at when I saw how decrepit the school supplies that the students had to use were. Some of the school text books were hanging from the bind, literally. So, this made me think that maybe there are positive effects of mass gentrification, as well? When better schools are being built with better resources this is a good thing. However, there has to be some type of common ground between the people responsible for the renovating and the people who live in the neighborhoods being renovated or else these types of events will continue to take place.

I hope all the families, police officers, students, etc. who were affected by this unexpected revolt are doing well. Sometimes events like this have to occur to make things better. Either way, I will always represent my alma mater to the fullest. “][“U baby!!!