CORDELE, GA (WALB) - High school seniors Jya Ramsey and Flint Stephens are in their last year of walking the halls of Crisp County High School.
"I'm looking forward to the tears of joy when I graduate," Ramsey said.
Ramsey and Stephens are just two of the more than 220 students in this year's senior class.
"I'm ready for graduation, I'm ready to walk that line," Stephens said.
And this year's graduates have to fill a lot of caps and gowns if they want to break the current graduation rate. According to Dr. Russell Sowell, the school's principal, Crisp County's Class of 2016 had a graduation rate of 84.9%.
"We've went up 23.5% in three years and that's huge," Dr. Sowell added.
And that makes the high school above average when it comes to the state's average of 79.2%. Dr. Sowell said there are a number of factors that have led to the spike in graduates.
"We've got people in our community and our students that want to be here," Dr. Sowell said.
The principal said relationships between the students and the staff are important, so his office door is always open to students.
"I'm in the hallways a majority of the time. I see them on Friday nights, I see them at events," the principal said.
And don't forget the teachers. Ramsey and Stephens said they've enjoyed the support from their instructors.
"Everyone has uplifted me and have given me a good spirit about graduating," Ramsey said.
"I had a lot of teachers kind of point me in the right direction, but also [allowed me to] stumble and fall and let me find my own path too," Stephens said.
And the educators are not stopping with this class. Dr. Sowell said they'd like to see their graduation rate reach 100%.
"We want each class to leave the legacy and challenge the class below them that this is what we did see if you can beat us," Dr. Sowell explained.
The school hopes to see another increase when Crisp County High School's Class of 2017 graduates next May.