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Brooklyn's High School Seniors Shine in Annual College and Career March

More than 100 students marched in Carroll Gardens Friday to celebrate their hard work and bright futures.
A lively parade of high school students, parents and educators took place in Carroll Gardens on Friday.

On Friday, Dec. 8, New York City was flooded with high school seniors parading banners and stacks of letters as part of the 12th annual College and Career March hosted by the 11 Outward Bound high schools in the city.  

Brooklyn hosted two of the 11 events taking place all around the city, and more than 200 students participated in Brooklyn marches to celebrate their bright futures. 

“This march represents the success of a lot of hard work they put in and possibilities of what will come. It takes a lot of work to get to this point,” said CEO of NYC Outward Bound Schools, Vanessa Rodriguez. “The fact that they can thrive in high school means that they are much more prepared to thrive in college and in life. I think it’s really exciting that they continue to want to celebrate this moment too.”

A group photo of BCS seniors. Photo: Denislam Sadykov for BK Reader.

The first march happened in 2011 when high school seniors went to a post office to send their college applications. Now, the entire college application process is online, but the tradition remains. Now, students mail thank-you notes to their teachers and counselors.

This year, the event was rebranded to celebrate all of the paths students choose after graduation, not just college. 

At Carroll Gardens’ Brooklyn Collaborative Studies, more than 100 students participated in the march. The other Brooklyn school that celebrated the day is Leaders High School in Gravesend.

High school seniors at BCS share their success stories at the pep rally. Photo: Denislam Sadykov for BK Reader.

The BCS event kicked off with a lively pep rally in the school's assembly hall. Parents, teachers and students of all grades gathered to cheer on the seniors, complete with dance routines and several heartfelt speeches from students.

“It was nerve-racking to perform in front of the entire school for the first time. But it was really fun, and now I feel very confident and even proud,” said Janaya, who was part of the group performing at the pep rally. She is a senior planning to study wildlife biology next year.

Students and educators celebrating achievements. Photo: Denislam Sadykov for BK Reader.

After the pep rally, the students started a festive march towards the Red Hook post office, with the crowd of supporters following them. Passersby were drawn to the procession, stopping to take photos and offer words of encouragement.

Police officers ensured the students' safety, blocking traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and joining in the cheers. Parents, teachers and other supporters held signs that had messages like "Honk if you're proud of the students."

A performance outside of the Red Hook Post Office. Photo: Denislam Sadykov for BK Reader.

​Upon reaching the post office, adult supporters shared their own life experiences, emphasizing the transformative power of education. One speaker, a 2015 graduate of BCS and the first-generation college graduate in her family, addressed the students directly: "Believe it or not, you're in control of your life."

“[The parade is] about the very big decisions that we have to make," Tihun, a senior at BCS planning on attending college in the fall, said. Tihun added that her thank-you note is going to her college admissions counselor, Karlette Fuchs, who helped her plan for the future. 

"It is an opportunity to get all together and celebrate," Tihun said.