On Friday, June 10, BELA celebrated the success of our inaugural graduating class by “showering” our seniors with college and dorm essentials such as luggage, headphones, toiletries, comforters and sheets, academic supplies and gift cards for textbooks or dorm room necessities. The 48 dynamic young women making up the Class of 2022 have submitted over 1,000 college applications and have 600 + acceptances. They have committed to 35 different institutions and earned $1,000,000 + in scholarships. BELA graduates will attend schools across 9 states and 53% of BELA graduates will attend college debt free and 6 seniors will be attending HBCU’s.
BELA’s College Shower will help our students and families offset some of the unexpected, incidental costs that accompany attending college, and reinforces that there is an entire community cheering them on. More than 85% of BELA students qualify for free or reduced lunch (NYC’s indicator for low-income) and 75% of the graduating class are first generation college students.
BELA’s College Success Team helps ensure that every student will attend and complete college, and works closely with our families to navigate the admissions process and ensure a successful post-secondary experience. This includes overnight college visits, test preparation, academic advising, career exploration and financial aid counseling. BELA’s weekly college readiness classes beginning in the 9th grade help students develop the academic and social-emotional skills they need to be equipped for post-secondary education. BELA’s Alumni Team maintains regular contact with graduates to ensure they receive continuing encouragement and support on their post-secondary journeys and remain connected to a supportive community.
“I am humbled and grateful that this group of young women and their families took a chance on BELA. We knew what Black and brown girls deserved and we set about co-creating this place alongside our young people. They are the trailblazers, the innovators,” says Nicia Fullwood, Head of School. “But we’re not done. This is not a four-year journey; it’s an eight-year journey. Our continued commitment is to ensuring our students are prepared to succeed in college. They are prepared academically. They are prepared socially. The College Shower will help prepare them with some essentials they’ll need inside and outside the classroom.”
Companies that generously contributed to BELA’s College Shower include:
SL Raw Virgin Hair
The Company Store