And their message brought traffic to a halt on Broad Street.
The students walked out of class Thursday afternoon.
They marched from their schools, proceeded twice around Philadelphia City Hall, then headed north to the School Administration Building at Broad and Spring Garden.
"We're all out here for the same reason," said Belal Shami of the Franklin Learning Center. "The budget cuts that the school has been doing."
"We all came together because we know what's happening is wrong," said fellow student Ryan Harris.
The students organized the march through word-of-mouth and social media. They are hoping to stop the district from cutting programs they say are important.
"They're cutting all this stuff: arts, sports," said Harris. "We're all coming together because it's crazy. We all understand budget cuts, but this is for something we're supposed to care about."
"To take away music, school would be so boring," said student Nakira Causey.
"We don't understand why we can't have the same opportunities that they did," said student Charevil Oyster.
Students told Action News they thought the protest was successful.
By all accounts, it was peaceful. And Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter promised the students he would try to get the $60 million necessary to save programs slated to be cut.
The students said those programs are crucial.
Fulfilling their dreams, said Belal Shami, will be difficult "without that extra education that's given to us for the future careers that we want to have."
The students plan another march later this month.