The march from Rochester’s World of Inquiry School to Rochester City Hall is a little over a mile. It takes about a half-hour, but the journey to the event has taken a lifetime.

“Our city is so very proud of each and every one of you,” said Mayor Lovely Warren to dozens of students. “We are so proud to have you here."

Students took part in the sixth annual College March Day. They brought with them letters, which they ceremonially mailed, announcing their college intentions.

“I am extremely proud of your dedication and hard work to get you to where you are today,” said RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade.

For weeks, the focus on for the district centered on budget woes and teacher layoffs. Friday, the focus shifted to a celebration of student achievement.

“Last year I would never imagine me doing the College March,” said Fairis Freeman, a senior who hopes to attend Hampton. “I always dreamed of this day, and it's finally here and it's unbelievable."

World of Inquiry has the highest graduation rate of all the city high schools.

“It gives me more motivation to do what I want in life, which is to become a police officer,” said senior Marian’a Webster Hubbard.  “To do that, I have to give back to the community."

Webster Hubbard’s mother and several other parents watched the ceremony with pride.

“Just to see them and know when they were in the womb, and to see them today and the aspirations that they have, it's phenomenal to me,” said Anna Maria Webster.