“The reasons that the College March is so incredibly important for us is that it's a way for us to communicate that every student, regardless of their background or circumstance, should have the opportunity to access high-quality education,” said Joshua Steckel, a college counselor at the Cobble Hill-based school.
Students began the morning with a pep rally to celebrate their achievements. Immediately after the rally, non-senior students from the school lined the sidewalk with pom-poms and signs to cheer on the seniors as they marched through their neighborhood to the Post Office in Red Hook.
In Red Hook, there was a celebration outside the Post Office as students walked in one-by-one and dropped off the applications to the colleges of their dreams.
“It really means a lot to me,” Malik Salandy, a student at the school, said of mailing his applications. “I feel like I've been working to keep up with everything that's sent to me, challenges, motivations of everyone who's supported me. And I felt like today I made them proud by mailing off my letter.”
Salandy sent applications to St. Lawrence University, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Brockport. He wants to study environmental science in the fall.
Anahi Sandoval mailed an application to Franklin and Marshall. She wanted to study biology with an eye towards eventually going to medical school. The day took on a special meaning for Sandoval and her family.
“Since I'm the first one graduating in my family, it means a lot to us, just because I've gotten this far,” she said.
As the students prepared to embark on their next journey after this school year, they were also offered advice from a former student at Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, who is set to graduate from Alfred University with a degree in environmental science in the spring.
“If I could go back, I wouldn't be afraid to ask for help when I really needed it, instead of curbing the offer because of foolish pride,” Frankie Molina said. “I could have accomplished so much more.”
The march in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, joined multiple marches throughout the city on Friday, including two others in Brooklyn, two in Manhattan, two in Queens and one in Staten Island featuring New York City Outward Bound Schools.
New York City Outward Bound Schools is a growing network of public schools that targets students from underserved neighborhoods.
“We are incredibly proud of our graduating class that every one of our students will be accepted to college,” Steckel said. “And that we're building a culture in our school that that is an expectation for every student at Brooklyn Collaborative to know it's a possibility for them, and that we are going to do everything we can to ensure that they access it.”