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CBHS Seniors “Become Adults” with College March

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CBHS Seniors 'Become Adults' with College March
Posted on 12/18/2015
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Ninety-three seniors from Casco Bay High School (CBHS) marched down Congress Street from the Portland Museum of Art to the downtown post office on Friday, Dec. 18 to mail their college applications.

 The afternoon event marked the school’s third annual "March to the Post Office" to celebrate every senior completing at least one college application – and it also promoted the Portland Public Schools’ goal to graduate every student college ready.

“I watched 93 students become adults today,” said CBHS senior Declan Attaway Murphy, who addressed fellow members of the class of 2016 on the steps of City Hall, where students gathered after mailing their applications. He praised the class for its “grit” and determination that has helped the students get ready for college.

Marching in front of the CBHS students were kindergartners from Reiche Community School. The annual ritual sends a message to younger students that they too can aspire to college. The kindergartners wore t-shirts saying “Future College Graduate” and carried signs with similar messages.

At City Hall, CBHS Principal Derek Pierce led the seniors in giving a round of applause to the youngest marchers.

Then Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling congratulated the CBHS seniors and led them in a chant of, “Think college now!”

Portland Public Schools Interim Superintendent Jeanne Crocker told the students that the most important thing about college, no matter which one they attend, is exploring and realizing one’s potential.

Michael Dixon, executive director of Portland ConnectEd, which supports the annual event, said, “This Casco Bay High School College March packs so many important keys to educational success in one event. Along with all the families and community members who came out today, the partners of Portland ConnectED support the college aspirations of all Portland students, whether they’re 8 years old or 18, and we are committed to supporting them every step of the way to completion of a post-secondary credential—and beyond."

The CBHS seniors were among more than 1,600 students from 22 schools in 11 cities nationwide participating in the National College March this month. The National College March, recognized by President Barack Obama in his 2014 State of the Union address, was begun in 2011 at a school in the NYC Outward Bound Schools network, with support from Capital One Bank. It has spread to include EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) schools, including CBHS.

CBHS encourages all of its students to apply to college and has a 98 percent acceptance rate for its graduates. Many of the students participating in the march locally and nationwide are the first in their families to apply to college, and for some, English is not their native language. 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.

CBHS March City Hall CBHS march, kid with poster