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Meet the Delves

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Our BELA community is strengthened by the wonderful, supportive families who put their trust in our mission. We caught up with Alexandria Sumpter-Delves, whose daughter Jael is a standout BELA freshman, to learn a little more about this special family, how they spend their time and why BELA has become so important to them.

An active family of five

Alexandria and Dawud Delves have been happily married for 22 years and they have three children: Jalen, a rising junior at SUNY Farmingdale majoring in engineering with a minor in aviation; Jael, our wonderful BELA freshman; and first grader Joshua. Alexandra is Division Director of Youth Workforce at Queens Community House, an organization that provides training opportunities for young adults between the ages of 18 – 24. Dawud Delves, a Marine Corps veteran, works for the Department of Transportation in the Office of Emergency Response Radio Repair. The family currently lives in Queens.

Favorite activities as a family

“We like to take advantage of all that New York has to offer, from roller skating and other sports-related activities to the arts, and friendly affiliations with art galleries and art programs, which Jael is especially drawn to. We also like to cook together often, picking out recipes and making dishes from other cultures. In Brooklyn, we enjoy walking from one end to the other at Shirley Chisolm Park or going down Broadway to see all the beautiful art.”

On New York City

“There are so many free things to do around the city. You can go anywhere, go to any corner, and take a trip around the world.”


“Jael’s previous school wasn’t the most diverse. We wanted Jael to see herself reflected in her educators and in the school administration – not just see that at home but see that in the people around her. We looked at high performing schools around the city where Jael’s talent would be championed and supported. After middle school, we also wanted a setting that balanced both the academics and the social aspect.”

“I knew BELA was a young school, but it was making great strides. I used to run an all-girls mentoring program – BELA gave me all those same good feelings. BELA just felt right.”

“BELA is a family. It is a familial environment where students are supported. They help them plan the pathway for the future from the minute they walk through the door.”

Getting Involved

“BELA sets itself apart from other public schools. Jael went to a MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) event with BELA on the weekend and came home and talked to us about it for an hour! I like that the school is doing things like this with the students on the weekend. Jael is more introverted, and she has come out of her shell and overcome certain fears.”

“She fully participated on her own in Resource Night. And she was recently accepted to the Summer program for Girls Who Code. Where I used to have to prod her and upsell things like this, she fully participated on her own. The energy that the staff brings to the school is infectious and it rubs off on the students. These are really great opportunities that will set her up for life.”  

Freshman year at BELA

“The school challenges her academically but is easier in the sense that they give students the time, and the supports are in place. There is an expectation that they will grasp the work and learn how to apply that to life, make those real world-applications and be full-on supported.” 

“They teach responsibility. Jael irons her own uniform for school.”

“Jael was apprehensive about taking the bus, but they helped her learn the bus system and Ms. Camile paired her up with another student going the same way. One day Jael forgot to text me when she got to school, but Ms. Camile called me to assure me that she had arrived. This demonstrates a responsibility to the parents and that the school is looking out for the kids.”

BELA teachers and staff

“They are all amazing. Smart, dedicated. They are a pleasure to engage with and sometimes engaging with teachers hasn’t always been this way. Every time we need to be at BELA, we move mountains to be there.”

“Ms. Shannon always has an answer or finds an answer. Ms. Nicia is so positive, and kids need this positivity. I brought my 6-year-old son to the parent-teacher conference and he was amazed that she was the principal. She even made an impression on him! She makes herself available and actively engages people. She is professional, tactful, respectful of everyone’s opinions. It is a skill and it is appreciated.” 

Final thoughts

“Jael was really excited to attend BELA and is really happy at the school and with the opportunity to interact with other young women. It’s brought a sense of relief.”

“I would like to see the school expanded into other boroughs, or into a larger building so more girls can be afforded this opportunity. It would be great to see it replicated on a larger scale.”