Olympic Medalist Challenged Benedictine Academy Students

ELIZABETH—Olympic Medalist Julienne Brazinski Simpson, an alumna of Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth and a legend in the history of women’s basketball, used her enthusiasm, wit and honesty to speak from her heart to students at the all-female Catholic college prep high school for their first day of classes on Sept. 6.

Simpson, who is currently the Director of Athletics and Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, engaged the Benedictine Academy students with a message that was energizing and optimistic, yet challenging, earning their rapt attention. She advised the young women to have “passion”, “pride”, and “faith in God” in all that they do.

Julienne Brazinski Simpson (pictured speaking to students on Sept. 6), is a Roselle Park native who was a 1976 Olympic Games Silver Medalist, and who was inducted into the Class of 2000 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She challenged Benedictine Academy students to have “passion, pride and faith in God” in all they do. She urged them to “support one another…when times are good and bad”. She encouraged them to have faith. “Faith is believing in something you cannot see….I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future,” Simpson said. Holding up a pencil so all could see that it was unsharpened, Simpson said, “See this pencil? Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil…it has no point!”

Benedictine Academy students were challenged by Alumna Julienne Brazinski Simpson on the opening day of school (Sept. 6) to “get involved” in their high school experiences…“if, you want it to be the experience you desire it to be”. Simpson (pictured engaging students in a motivational exercise) wore a shirt with the words “Pride”, “Green Bees” (the school’s mascot) and “Faith”. The 1970 alumna of the all-female Catholic college prep high school in Elizabeth, was co-captain of the Women’s Basketball team that won the Silver Medal at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. She issued challenges to all four classes at the Academy: to the 9th grade – “Have pride in your school; to the 10th – “Be creative and memorable”; to the 11th – “Have direction and focus”; and to the 12th – “Have backbone and take responsibility for your own happiness and success.”

Olympic Silver Medalist Julienne Brazinski Simpson (center) is pictured with Benedictine Academy President Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB (left) and Academy Guidance Director Sister Donna Jo Repetti, OSF (right) following her address to students at the Academy on the opening day of classes. After the Olympics, Simpson coached Division I and Division II college basketball. She compiled over 300 collegiate coaching victories over a thirty-year track record of continued success as a player, head coach, and an administrator. She is currently the Director of Athletics and Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station. The Roselle Park native is a graduate of Benedictine Academy.

(Photos courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

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