Over the next few weeks, Philly.com hosts Mouthful, a podcast that features dramatic monologues highlighting the experiences and perspectives of young Philadelphians. These monologues, which are performed by professional actors, are produced by Philly Young Playwrights and Yvonne Latty, director of the Reporting the Nation program at NYU's Carter Journalism Institute.

It's the end of May, which means two things in Philadelphia: festivals and graduations. All over the city, thousands of people, young and old, are clogging traffic with their flowing graduation gowns and smiling families, navigating their way through crowded, closed streets hosting festivals of all kinds.

It's an exciting time that will continue on well into June, when high school graduation season kicks off, sending even more smiling faces out of auditoriums and into the sun-drenched streets.

Graduations are a time of celebration. They are a time to acknowledge hard work and determination. They are rites of passage.

For Rashaan Brooks, Jr., Gary Williams, Maurice Scott, and Rayshawn Johnson, the next couple of weeks will mark a clear transition from one chapter of their lives into the next. All four young men, who call themselves “The Tribe,” will graduate from the academically rigorous Masterman on June 19th. In the fall, they will begin their studies at college: three of them are going to the University of Pittsburgh, while the fourth, Rayshawn, is headed to Yale.

"I think college is very important, especially for black men," Rashaan said in an interview the week before prom. "Because quite honestly a lot of people in this country don't want us to go to college. They don't want us to graduate high school at that."

On this week's episode of Mouthful, a weekly podcast that places young people at the center of important issues, we talk to The Tribe about their friendship: how it helped them excel in school, surpass expectations, and set a visible example for other young black men.

In the City of Philadelphia, less than one third of young black men graduate from high school. For The Tribe, the realities behind that statistic became a personal mission.

Get in on the conversation. Listen here.