Brooklyn, New York, June 17, 2022 – On Friday, June 17, the graduating class at Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy (BELA) Charter High School received their diplomas, marking the end of one journey and the start of another for these 46 promising young women from the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Speaker of the New York City Council Adrienne Adams delivered the keynote presentation to the new graduates. Commencement concluded with a treasured BELA tradition – the Sisterhood Circle – for the final time for this Class of 2022.
BELA opened its doors in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 2017 with a mission affirming, “BELA students will attend and complete college.” The Class of 2022 embraced the school’s mission, achieving 100% college acceptance! Collectively, the class applied to more than 350 different colleges and universities and received $2 million in scholarships and grants. Seventy-five percent of BELA graduates are the first in their families to attend college. The graduating class also demonstrated a commitment to giving back, collectively performing more than 5,000 hours of community service. BELA is the only all-girls high school in Bed-Stuy.
Keynote speaker Adrienne Eadie Adams is the Speaker of the New York City Council. Elected in January 2022 by her colleagues, she leads the most diverse and the first women-majority Council in New York City history as the first-ever African American Speaker. Elected to the City Council in November 2017, she is also the first woman to represent District 28. The day’s speakers also included 12th Grade Social Worker Katherine Moreno, Board Chair Diana Nathaniel, Head of School Nicia Fullwood and valedictorian Jaida Dent. Senior Briana Fletcher performed the Black National Anthem.
“As I reflect on this class’s journey, I no longer need to dream. They’ve achieved so much and pushed my own thinking about what is possible. The Class of 2022 is the intersection of BELA’s core values. They are a living example of people who will harness their wisdom for good, embrace their areas of growth as opportunities to get better and leverage their power and privilege to serve their communities.”
“They will each change the world in their own way and have a seat at whatever table they choose. The Class of 2022 has enriched our community and has left an enduring impact that will inspire future generations of BELA students.”
~ Nicia Fullwood, Head of School