MS NICOLETTE SAPPHIRE ZACHARATOS (a.k.a. NINJA NICO) (Second dan)
Daughter of Master Zacharatos (7th Dan) & Jamie BenAziz-Zacharatos (3rd Dan)
Nico received her junior blackbelt at only 8 1/2 years old on July 30, 2010, then was awarded her 2nd degree blackbelt on December 11, 2011. She started training at 4 1/2. the discipline, focus and confidence gained by starting martial arts at a young age, led her on a great path to be a high achiever in many goals as she grew up.
Since she was 5 years old, she also started to train with a tennis coach, studied Piano, French & Dance. She never quit what she started, she was on the varsity tennis team in HS and still plays regularly, she is now an extremely accomplished musician and performer in piano and electric guitar, and is minoring in French in College, and continued to train in dance for 13 years. She also loves surfing. She loved summer camp when she was younger and participating in all events, and was a favorite of both the campers the staff when she worked as a CILT at camp.
She graduated both Middle school and High school with honors, and was part of the Historic HS Class of 2020 during the pandemic, graduating high school with 4.2 GPA, and was awarded the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma and Presidential award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, and the World Language award. Currently in College, Nico made the dean’s list each semester so far with all A’s!
In College, (majoring in Communications and minor in French), she’s recognized for her leadership skills and building a community, by becoming the first Freshman to advance to the executive team as director of Public Relations and Co-Social Media Director for “Her Campus” magazine, and Director of Marketing for the French Club, all during the pandemic!
How well she adapted and thrived in spite of challenges of the pandemic, are all due to life skills that she started learning at a young age with her involvement in extracurricular activities, mostly in sports and music. We’re sure these life skills will continue to serve her well with her career in communications in the future.
We made sure she had a good balance with lots of down time too, It’s amazing what one can achieve just by being consistent over time and not quitting. Half of accomplishing goals is just showing up to practice.
We tell our students, and our daughter, you don’t have to be “the” best, just always do “your” best. (We practice what we preach)
See Nico’s tennis highlight video and Nico’s Piano performance highlights Terrace Beverly Hills and
Weapons class highlight and her music instagram @__itsnicoo Zacharatos YouTube Channel
Nico’s Blackbelt training story-
On December 14, 2011, Nico, along with 3 other junior blackbelts, were awarded their 2nd degree blackbelts. As the test date got closer, the training got more intense, and Nico trained with us every day for the last two months before the test.
For their 2nd degree blackbelt tests, in addition to demonstrating complex blackbelt katas, they demonstrated their new weapons skills with the nunchucks, bow staff and escrima sticks taught by our own Mr. Giancarlo. (currently the weapons class is being taught by Jamie BenAziz-Zacharatos)
By chance, they had to train in the freezing cold and rain (under a tent) where our weapons class is held. Braving the harsh elements is not a normal part of our blackbelt training, but the weather was extreme during their last several two hour long practices in the weeks before their test, it sort of added to the mystic of it all! They never complained, and really stepped up and improved so much during the last few months. Making it a memorable and transformative time, and that learned discipline carried over into other areas of her life as she got older.