Emotions Run the Gamut as NYC Students Receive High School Matches

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Eight grade student Donovan Gonzalez, 14, got an offer letter to his top pick high school, Manhattan Business Academy. (Sarah Gonzalez/WNYC)

Kindergarten and high school acceptance letters were sent on Wednesday to thousands of New York City families and public school students.

According to the Department of Education, 84 percent of soon-to-be kindergarteners and 72 percent of incoming high school freshman got one of their top three school choices. The students who received a high school acceptance letter today are a part of Round 1 offers. A total of 76,851 8th graders filled out an application. 

The news was greeted with a whole range of emotion. Outside one middle school in Manhattan's Chinatown, there was a mix of tears and jubilation.

“I got accepted to New Design High School, and that was my first choice and I am actually pretty happy about it,” said 15-year-old Nekhi Miller, an 8th grader at M.S. 131.

When 14-year-old Donovan Gonzalez applied to middle school he said he didn’t get any of the schools he chose. This time around, Gonzalez got his top pick: Manhattan Business Academy. "My twin brother picked the same school too and he got in," Gonzalez said. "And my older brother goes there."

In a statement, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña highlighted some trends she considered promising, including more support for students living in homeless shelters to engage in the application process, for both kindergarten and high school while she recognized the day as a pivotal one in the lives of many New York City children.

“I share their excitement as they prepare to enter a new school and take on a new challenge,” said Fariña who also acknowledged there was still work to do. 

Among one of the ongoing efforts, there are more schools participating in a pilot program to increase student diversity -- racial and socio-economic -- in individual schools. The Department of Education said there were now 19 schools adjusting their admissions rules to prioritize applicants who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, English language learners or kids who were in the child welfare system or were "impacted by incarceration.”

High school applicants who were not happy with their match or missed the deadline can participate in Round Two. The Round Two high school fair will be held later this month, and students have until the end of March to apply. 

Families of accepted kindergarten students must pre-register their kids at their new schools by April 7.