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CBHS College March Now Set For Jan. 27

Casco Bay High School seniors’ 10th annual “College March” – a public affirmation of students’ higher education goals – has been rescheduled from the previously planned date of Jan. 20, 2022, due to a snowstorm. The new date for the event will be Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.

The entire class of about 100 seniors will march 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.

The march will begin about 1:15 p.m. at Congress Square Park and culminate at City Hall about 1:30 p.m. The Portland community is encouraged to come out and cheer the students on!

CBHS 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.

After mailing their applications or letters at the post office on Congress Street near City Hall, the students will then head to the steps of City Hall., where they will be greeted by city and school leaders and where two senior speakers will deliver an address on behalf of the class. The rest of the student body will be there too, cheering the seniors on.

This year the University of Southern Maine is again sponsoring the event. “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.

The march was originally set for Dec. 16, 2022 but inclement weather has led to the event being postponed three times.

WHAT: Casco Bay High School’s 10th Annual March to the Post Office for seniors

WHEN/WHERE:  Friday, Jan. 27. The senior class will arrive at the Congress Square Park at about 1:15 p.m. and proceed down Congress Street to the downtown post office and then arrive at City Hall about 1:30 p.m., where they will be recognized by school and city officials and where two senior speakers will give an address on behalf of the class.

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages.  49.8 percent of the district’s students are white and 50.2 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.