The future looks promising for the class of 2013 in the Anchorage School District with thousands of students graduating this week at the Sullivan Arena. ASD says more than 3,200 seniors have been offered $44 million in scholarships and awards from local and national universities, companies and organizations.

On Monday, Bartlett High was among the many high schools saying goodbye to the class of 2013.

Some students will further their education and others will jump immediately on a career path.

More than 300 seniors ended one chapter in their lives and prepared to walk along a new path in search of something else.

"I'm going to go to UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) and study for physical education and become a P.E. Teacher," said Vilane Xing, a 2013 Bartlett High graduate.

Xing says he was able to plan his future with his guidance counselor and P.E. teacher.

Other students say their plans are a bit different than going to a traditional four-year college.

Chianeng Yang, also a 2013 Bartlett graduate, says he's enlisting in the Marine Corps.

Yang says he wants to walk in his father and grandfather's footsteps and the reactions from his parents are mixed.

"Moms will be moms, but my pops he's cool with it," Yang said with a smile.

But he admits it's better to have a solid idea about what he wants to do with his life.

"At least I've got a plan for my future," Yang said.

One Bartlett guidance counselor, Ray Johnson says this year's diverse group is heading in many different directions.

"Traditionally, we have about 37 percent usually go to a 4 year institution and then 37 percent usually go to a 2-year program," said Johnson.

Jennifer Deitz, the founder of the Alaska Career College says the outlook is positive for recent high school graduates continuing their education or finding a job.

"In our school district at least, we've had a really wonderful opportunity where we had career guidance counselors, so high school students today are introduced to more options," Deitz said.

Deitz says this time period is all about options.

"Traditional colleges and universities, absolutely. Professional careers require a bachelor's degree or higher education, but not all occupations require that level of education," Deitz said.

Deitz says the majority of students who enroll at Alaska Career College pursue health careers.

The Alaska Career College talks to local hospitals regularly to get ideas about which fields are hunting for more qualified workers.

"They're telling us medical assisting, medical coding and billing, massage therapy, they're telling us those are programs and those are career fields that young people can get involved in that doesn't take a long time to train," Deitz said.

"From this day forward, this is just the beginning in terms of where you wanna be," Johnson said. "It's just beautiful - this is what we work for, you know, preparing kids for stepping out into the world."

Contact: Samantha Angaiak