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CBHS’ 10th College March a Success

It was rescheduled three times due to bad weather, but Casco Bay High School seniors on Jan. 27 were finally able to successfully complete the school’s 10th annual “College March” –  a public affirmation of students’ higher education goals.

The entire class of about 100 seniors marched down Congress Street to the post office to either mail a college application or a letter to a significant adult in their life who has supported their achieving this milestone. After delivering their missives to the post office on Congress Street, the students headed to the steps of City Hall, where they were greeted by city and school leaders and where two senior speakers – Baqer Jalil and Amria Doale –delivered an address on behalf of the class.

View a Channel 6 News Center Maine report on the event: "High school seniors march 'thank you' letters to post office,"

Casco Bay High School is a lead school within the EL Education network, formerly called Expeditionary Learning. EL Education is a leading K-12 nonprofit focused on raising student achievement across diverse schools and communities. The College March, whose roots go back to 2012, is a nationwide event that has become an EL tradition.

Casco Bay High School strives for 100 percent of its graduates to be accepted to college, and is close to that goal: so far, 98 percent of CBHS students have been accepted to college. All CBHS seniors are expected to submit at least one college application.

The University of Southern Maine sponsored the event again this year. “We believe that every CBHS student is college material, should they wish to pursue this path,” said CBHS Principal Derek Pierce. “USM's philosophy of ‘college for everyone’ is a great fit for that belief.” The event happens each year with assistance from the U.S. Postal Service.

The CBHS annual "March to the Post Office" helps promote the Portland Public Schools’ goal of graduating every student college ready. Pierce said the school is excited the event has reached the 10-year mark because the march “demonstrates to the school community and the world that every kid can get to college with hard work and adequate support, if they decide that is the right path. We want our students to graduate with as many options as possible – and we want college to be one of them.”

Many CBHS students are the first in their families to apply to college and some are from immigrant families. The College March is a powerful symbol of the idea that every student, regardless of background or circumstance, has the potential to thrive at a high-quality institution of higher learning.