Knoxville (WVLT) -- Thousands of Knox County High School students made the big walk across the stage for their diplomas this weekend.
State education officials say Tennessee's public schools are prepping students better, but at the same time, some of the state's colleges and universities say they're being overwhelmed with unprepared students.
The students we spoke with today say they're ready...
The class of 2007 is filled with high hopes, lots of faith and excitement..
"I'm just really excited," said Austin East graduate Dempsey Harshaw. "I graduated, I'm happy!"
"Oh, I'm like overwhelmed with emotions," said Brandee Phillips, "It's just exciting."
Phillips says she can't believe she's finally graduated, and she worked hard for her diploma.
"I'm in the National Honor Society," Phillips said, "I was president of the 2007 class."
She now plans on working even harder for her degree.
"I'm planning on going to University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and majoring in anthropology with a double minor in Biology and Spanish," Phillips said.
"I've always instilled in her that she can do anything she wants to do," said Tabace Burns, Phillips proud mother. "I'm glad to see she's ready to fly out of the nest."
Of course, where many of these students will ultimately work is up in the air, but many agree they'll need much more than just their high school diploma to land a good job.
"It's harder to get a job just having a high school diploma, and I guess more students are striving to better themselves outside of high school," Phillips said.
"The income is better for people going to college," Hershaw said. "The higher your learning is, the more money you're going to get paid."
Dempsey Harshaw is headed to UT to be a criminal lawyer.
"It just depends on how everything goes in college," Hershaw said, "but hopefully if I do well in college, it shouldn't be that hard getting a job."
Many parents say the job outlook is much better for their children than it was for them, as long as they get that degree...
"Him going to college will give him a better start, said Harshaw's father Joe."
"It used to be an entry level to life, but now it really isn't," said Burns.
"It's not going to be hard because I know that anything I set my mind to, that I can do," said Phillips.