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CBHS ‘College March’ Rescheduled to Jan. 8

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CBHS ‘College March’ Rescheduled to Jan. 8
Posted on 01/05/2021
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Seniors at Casco Bay High School (CBHS) aren’t letting the COVID-19 pandemic stop them from holding their annual “College March” down Congress Street to the post office. But this year’s Friday, Jan. 8 event – rescheduled from Dec. 18 due to inclement weather on that date – has been scaled back to keep everyone safe. Fewer students will participate in person during this eighth annual public affirmation of CBHS students’ higher education goals.

Instead of the usual 90 or so seniors marching, just seven students will gather at 2:45 p.m. and their march will be shorter. Instead of beginning from the Portland Museum of Art, they’ll proceed from Monument Square to the downtown post office. Each of CBHS’ seven senior crews has selected one representative to carry their crew's letters to the post office to be mailed.

And instead of college applications this year – which students have already submitted, mostly electronically – the students will be mailing letters to loved ones who have supported them throughout their lives. If it’s not too cold, senior Logan Andrick will be leading the senior class reps, playing bagpipes.

After mailing the letters, the student reps will then head to the steps of City Hall, where they will be greeted by city and school leaders and senior speaker Yusur Jasim, who will deliver an address on behalf of her class. Everyone will wear masks and observe social distance guidelines. The event, expected to conclude at 3:15 p.m., will be live-streamed so that other seniors will be able to participate virtually on Zoom at this link: https://zoom.us/j/99010584812

One thing that won’t be different this year is the celebratory nature of the event. “The Class of 2021 has persevered nobly amidst the excruciating challenges of the last nine months,” said CBHS Principal Derek Pierce. “They have definitely earned the right to celebrate and be celebrated as they achieve this milestone and stride closer to their desired future.”

The CBHS annual "March to the Post Office" celebrates every senior completing at least one college application – and promotes the Portland Public Schools’ goal of graduating every student college ready. Pierce explained that the idea behind the march is “to demonstrate to the school community and the world that every kid is ‘college material’ – that every kid can get there 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.

Other high schools throughout the country also hold a College March each year. Its roots date back to 2012, when more than 600 seniors from New York City’s Outward Bound Schools’ network of public schools marched from their respective campuses to their local post office or mail truck to submit their college applications. Students hoped to inspire others to persevere through challenge to success in college and beyond.

The march also has become an EL Education tradition. CBHS is a mentor school within the EL Education network. EL Education is a leading K-12 nonprofit focused on raising student achievement across diverse schools and communities. Throughout CBHS’ 15-year history, about 98 percent of its students have been accepted to college.

TD Bank is sponsoring the march, which happens each year with assistance from the U.S. Postal Service.