SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --It looked a lot like a graduation ceremony at South Philadelphia High School Thursday.
There was pomp and circumstance, students were handed certificates, and there was celebration.
But they were not seniors, they were freshmen.
And they were not graduating. They were making a commitment to graduate.
"The graduation rate in Philly has not been super high, it's not 100 percent, and we want these 9th graders to take a pledge, make a commitment, stay true to their word, and be the first class to graduate 100 percent of their class in 2020," counselor Emily Goodman said.
As a matter of fact, city numbers show just 68 percent of all Philadelphia seniors graduated this past school year. So South Philadelphia High School is trying to change that.
While the teachers and counselors are on board, so are the parents.
"So they know what it takes to not be a statistic and he has my support," parent Tiffini Harris said, giving her son Tayvon a kiss on the cheek.
The 9th grader is all for the commitment.
"I can go to college and be a man," Tayvon said.
The school says getting there takes a village and three basic principles: Decide, Commit, Succeed.
The students' commitments will hang in the hallways now through 2020 to ensure that they keep their promise.