Students around the city take a big step toward achieving a college education by getting applications in the mail with classmates rooting them on. Roger Clark was there for this year's College March.
Led by the beat of a drum, seniors of the public school Brooklyn Collaborative braved a chilly Friday to march past cheering fellow students as if they crossed the finish line of a marathon.
They marched through Carroll Gardens. Their finish line was the Red Hook Post Office.
The post office was where they had their college applications postmarked, which ended months of preparations and decisions.
It was all part of the sixth annual college march, founded by NYC Outward Bound Schools. The organization operates 11 public schools in partnership with the Department of Education, an arm of the Outward Bound outdoor education organization.
"The main idea behind it is the same," said Richard Stopol, president and CEO of NYC Outward Bound Schools. "To provide this mix of challenge and support to young people to allow them to see that they can do more than they thought possible."
And it has been a success. They have a 90 percent graduation rate, compared with the city's 72 percent graduation rate. And 98 percent of their graduating seniors apply to colleges.
Brooklyn Collaborative Senior Yordi Mejia is one of the success stories. He has applied to schools like Cornell, Syracuse and Brandeis among others.
"This was a very impactful day," said Mejia. "It gets to show us all of the hard work pays off. And yeah, it's very exciting."
The college march has been such a success over the past six years that this year ten public schools outside of the NYC Outward Bound network decided to join in.
"Almost 1500 seniors in all five boroughs of the city and then across the country, I believe it was 27 hundred marching across the country," said Stopol. "So, next year we are hoping for even more."
By then, Brooklyn Collaborative Senior Janaya Carlo hopes to be attending one of her dream schools. She appreciated the backing of her classmates on this big day.
"It's exciting, because they are more friends, but don't see them daily, so it's kind of fun to get to know them and see they are supportive," says Carlo.
In this case, supportive, may be a pleasant understatement.