Single digit temperatures couldn’t stand in the way of World of Inquiry Students marching through downtown Friday.
They were celebrating College March Day, an annual event where graduating seniors walk from the school’s location on University Ave to City Hall. There, they deliver letters indicating their college choice and thanking the adults and supportive friends who helped them get there. Local officials join the students, hoping to encourage them.
“The letters that we mail for College March is really the essence of our march,” said Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams. In addition to delivering the letters, students were given certificates to recognize their hard work.
The students were raucous, loudly cheering for friends when their names were called. Nakia Nunnally is a senior and she says a lot of the excitement comes from them knowing each other so long.
“I’ve grown up in 58,” she said. She’s been a student there since 3rd grade. “We’ve known each other for years so it’s a special feeling. We grew up with each other so it’s even more of a family feeling.”
“It is a long hard process to graduate on time and stuff,” said Dontavious Lovette, another senior. He said the difficulty makes friends cheer harder for one another. “At the end of the day it’s worth it. You’ll get a great job and afterward you’ll feel like it’s something you accomplished.”
He credits his immediate family, uncle and godfather for his success. But he says not every student has support behind them. He had advice for those students: don’t fall in the wrong crowd.
“If you can’t find anybody right now just stay to yourself, do great. Do it for yourself, not anybody else and you’re going to do it. You’re going to make it happen for yourself. You’re going to be good.”
Deputy Mayor Cedric Alexander and Rochester School Board President Van White were also there to celebrate with the students. White reminded them they still have a long way to go.
“Yes, you’ve marched through some rough roads, navigated through some perilous pathways but you’re still not there,” he said. “I’m not talking about the roads you just went through. I’m talking about the roads you’re about to traverse. Those roads will be challenging but trust me, the journey will be worth it.”
Students still have their senior years to complete and Deane-Williams reminded them it’s a time to look back and forward but to also be sure they finish the year.
“Have fun, but not too much,” she told the students with a wink.