Serena Williams Triumphs over Sister Venus to Win Record 23rd Major Title at Australian Open

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Serena Williams lifts her trophy after defeating her sister Venus Williams in their women’s singles final match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Jan. 28, 2017. (Mark R. Cristino / EPA)

article via chicagotribune.com

Serena Williams held up a Grand Slam winner’s trophy for the 23rd time, celebrating her unrivalled place in history, and received a congratulatory letter and a pair of custom-made shoes from Michael Jordan, the name most synonymous with No. 23.

Venus Williams got to watch from close range again, and shed tears more of joy than regret after being beaten in a major final for the seventh time by her record-breaking younger sister.

Serena won the all-Williams final, the ninth in Grand Slam history and the second in Australia, 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday.  With her record seventh Australian Open title, Serena moved ahead of Steffi Graf for the most major titles in the Open era.

When Serena sat on the court, holding both arms up to celebrate on Saturday, Venus walked over to her sister’s side of the net for a hug.  “This was a tough one,” Serena said. “I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus, she’s an amazing person — she’s my inspiration.  There’s no way I would be at 23 without her — there’s no way I would be at one without her. Thank you Venus for inspiring me to be the best player I can be and inspiring me to work hard.”

Asked if it felt awkward to be on the receiving end of so many losses to her sister, the 36-year-old Venus didn’t flinch.  “No, because I guess I’ve been here before,” she said. “I really enjoy seeing the name Williams on the trophy. This is a beautiful thing.”

Venus won the last of her seven majors in 2008 at Wimbledon. She didn’t make the second week of a major for a few years as she came to terms with an energy-sapping illness after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011. And she only made it back to the semifinals last year at Wimbledon.

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Queens Man Patrick Clarke Wins $5M in Lottery Scratchoff from Bodega

Lottery Winner Patrick Clarke (photo via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

Patrick Clarke just won $5 million from the $10 Set for Life lottery scratch off. Clarke bought the winning ticket on December 20 at the Friendly Deli & Grocery on Saratoga Ave. in Brooklyn. “It feels good,” said Clarke. “It means I won’t have to worry so much. There will always be something to worry about, but for once, it won’t be about money.”

He said that he scratched off the winning ticket at his girlfriend’s home and then immediately began to celebrate.“I started laughing and dancing all around the house!” he said. He had to call his mother first before anyone else, because it had been her birthday present of $50 that he had used to purchase two tickets from the store that day. She at first misunderstood, thinking that when he said he “got life” that he meant he was going to prison, which sent her into worry and then confusion when Clarke tried to explain that he had won the lottery.

“At first she didn’t believe me,” Clarke said. “She said ‘stop playing with me.’”Clarke is not sure what he will do with his winnings, but he said that he will likely keep his job at the airport.

To read more, go to: Queens man wins $5M in lottery scratchoff from bodega | theGrio

Know Any Young Heroes? Nominate Them for a $5,000 Gloria Barron Prize

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Mary-Pat, a 2015 Gloria Barron Prize Winner and Founder of Think Twice Campaign (photo via barronprize.org)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America. Established in 2001 by author T.A. Barron, the Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities, or the environment.logo-horiz-green-blue-300

The top fifteen winners each receive $5,000 to support their service work or higher education.  Applications are accepted online only and are due by April 15, 2017.

For more information, visit www.barronprize.org/apply

African-American College Students Garner a Record Seven Rhodes Scholarships for 2017

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(L to R) Cameron D. Clarke, Aryn A. Frazier, Christian E. Nattiel, Olivia A. Klevorn, Aaron C. Robertson, Ahmed M. Ahmed, and Caylin L. Moore (photos via jbhe.com)

article via jbhe.com (additional reporting by Peggy Terry)

Recently, the Rhodes Trust announced the 32 American winners of Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at Oxford University in England. Being named a Rhodes Scholar is considered among the highest honors that can be won by a U.S. college student.

The scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a vast fortune in colonial Africa. According to the will of Rhodes, applicants must have “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.”

This year, about 2,500 students applied to be Rhodes Scholars. More than 880 students were endorsed by 311 college or university for consideration for a Rhodes Scholarship. Some 230 applicants were named finalists. Then, two Rhodes Scholars were selected from each of 16 districts across the United States. The Rhodes Trust pays all tuition and fees for scholarship winners to study at Oxford. A stipend for living and travel expenses is also provided.

In 1907 Alain LeRoy Locke, later a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford University. It would be more than 50 years later, in 1962, until another African American would be named a Rhodes Scholar. Other African Americans who have won Rhodes Scholarships include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. In 1978 Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

The Rhodes Trust does not publicize the race or ethnicity of scholarship winners. But it appears that this year seven of the 32 Rhodes winners are African Americans. This is the most African American Rhodes Scholars in history.

Following are brief biographies of the African American winners:

Cameron D. Clarke is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is the fourth Howard student to win a Rhodes Scholarship. Clarke is majoring in community health education and biology. He is the news editor of the student newspaper at Howard and serves as an intern for the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at the U.S. House of Representatives. Clarke plans to study for a master’s degree in primary health care at Oxford.

Aryn A. Frazier is a senior at the University of Virginia, where she is double majoring in politics and African American and African studies. Frazier is president of the Black Student Alliance at the university. Frazier, a resident of Laurel, Maryland, plans to study for a master’s degree in comparative politics at Oxford.

Christian E. Nattiel from Madeira Beach, Florida, is a senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. At West Point, Nattiel is double-majoring in mathematical sciences and philosophy and is a member of the academy’s handball team. At Oxford, Nattiel will study for master’s degrees in comparative social policy and public policy.

Olivia A. Klevorn is a senior at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. A native of Chicago, Klevorn is majoring in anthropology. At Yale, Klevorn is the director of the Heritage Theatre Ensemble and president of a student-run poetry association. She will study for a Ph.D. in socio-legal studies at Oxford.

Aaron C. Robertson of Redford, Michigan, is a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey. He is majoring in Italian and focuses his research on Afro-Italian literature. At Princeton, he is the co-editor-in-chief of the Nassau Literary Review. Robertson plans to pursue a master’s degree in modern languages at Oxford.

Ahmed M. Ahmed is a biology major at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is a resident of Rochester, Minnesota. His research is focused on the development of new synthetic strategies for producing polymers. He is the son of immigrants from Somalia. Ahmed will study for a master’s degree in organic and medical chemistry at Oxford.

Caylin L. Moore is a member of the football team at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. A resident of Carson, California, Moore is majoring in economics at TCU. He was raised in poverty and was homeless. His father was convicted to a life sentence for murder. Moore is the founder of an organization of student athletes who encourage children from disadvantaged groups to attend college. He will study public policy as a Rhodes Scholar.

To read full article, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/12/a-record-year-for-african-american-rhodes-scholars/

Louisville QB Lamar Jackson Wins Heisman Trophy; Youngest Player Ever to Earn Award

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is the first Heisman Trophy winner from his university.

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is the first Heisman Trophy winner from his university. (photo via cnn.com)

article by Jill Martin and Steve Almasy via cnn.com

Lamar Jackson, a sophomore quarterback at the University of Louisville, has won the Heisman Trophy, given to the most outstanding player in college football.  Jackson, who amassed 4,928 yards of total offense and 51 total touchdowns, is youngest player ever and the first player from Louisville to win the Heisman.

Wearing a school-color red coat with a black lapel, Jackson seemed a bit overwhelmed by winning.

“Oh my God,” he said several times.  Among those he thanked were his teammates, saying the award was for all of them.  “I can’t wait to treasure this moment with all of you,” he said. “I love you guys.”

Jackson told reporters he had a speech written but thanked his fellow players, coaches and mom from his heart.  “For some reason when they called my name my chest started pumping and heart started racing real hard,” he said.

Jackson is the first player in major college football history with at least 3,300 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in a season.  He was second in the nation in points responsible per game (25.7).  “The improvement Lamar has made since coming to Louisville has been amazing,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “It’s all because of his dedication and hard work.”

To read more, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/10/sport/heisman-trophy/

Junior Olympian Sheppard Sisters Named Sports Illustrated SportsKids Of The Year

(photo via Sports Illustrated)

article by Rachaell Davis via essence.com

This week, young track and field stars Tai, Rainn and Brooke Sheppard were announced as the recipients of the 2016 Sports Illustrated SportsKids Of The Year award for their athletic accomplishments and unwavering dedication in the face of extreme hardships. ESSENCE caught up with the young track stars and their proud mother Tonia Handy for a quick chat just as they were preparing for the SI SportsKids of the Year announcement.

The girls first took an interest in track and field when their babysitter signed them up for a track meet in January of 2015. When the family fell on hard times and relocated to a homeless shelter that September, the encouraging spirit of those around them played a big role in helping to keep them going.

My coach really inspired me to try hard and to really put everything into it,” 9-year-old Brooke told ESSENCE. “Also, my babysitter Sharon Davis, who introduced us to track and field and really helped us work as hard as we could to get us where we are now.” Brooke also credits Olympic champion Alex Felix with inspiring her to push forward. “My inspiration is Alex Felix,” she adds. “She really inspires me to work really hard like her.”

To read full article, go to: Sheppard Sisters Named Sports Illustrated SportsKids Of The Year Essence.com

21st Century Fox and Pepsico Team Up to Offer STEM Scholarships with “Hidden Figures” Contest for Girls and Women

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Are you a real-life “hidden figure” on her way to changing the world? You could win a scholarship to help make your STEM dreams come true! PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox are partnering to find the next generation of girls and women who will lead the way in STEM. Sound like you? Enter the Search for Hidden Figures contest by Dec. 10!

Prizes are awards of $200,000 total in scholarships to 12 standout finalists. Winners will also receive exclusive opportunities and more from PepsiCo and Hidden Figures.

For more information and contest rules, go to https://searchforhiddenfigures.com