The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

RBHS alumni find success outside of college, typical schooling

Kaden Rhodes
Still life photo of a camera, cooking supplies, and makeup essentials. These represent the careers of videography, the culinary arts, and cosmetology.

To be successful, one needs school.

That is often the narrative pushed both explicitly and implicitly by American culture and parents around the country. For many kids, college is the end goal from day one. Learning letters and numbers is the first stepping stone on an academic journey that ends in a diploma and tearful parents nodding to each other, “Oh, he’s gonna go far!” Indeed, college opens up many wonderful opportunities. Most high-ceiling white-collar jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree and some blue-collar jobs require specific training or background knowledge provided by four-year institutions. Colleges can be great places to meet friends and future spouses as well as connections for future opportunities. In many ways, college is the end goal for plenty of students. But a four-year institution is not the only option. 

For Chris Bush — a 2013 RBHS graduate — a typical four-year university was something he stopped planning for when he “realized early on that school was not [his] strong suit.” Bush now owns his own catering company — Bush’s Catering. He started the business after working for eight years at Chris McD’s Restaurant and Wine Bar under the previous owner Chris McDonnell. 

“I knew in high school that [high school] was as far as I was going,” Bush said. “So, I jumped into the workforce as soon as possible, getting into trades that were what I wanted to do as opposed to just learning about it.” 

Bush is far from being the only American to feel this way, and while he graduated high school, more than 1.2 million high school students dropout of high school every year. Each individual is, of course, more than a statistic, but the numbers reflect the desire or inability of students to attend high school, much less college. 

2022 RBHS graduate Evan Holliday echoed Bush’s sentiment. After trying MACC immediately following graduation, Holliday realized he did not want to continue his post-secondary education and turned instead to cultivating a business he began while still in high school. Under the name of Evino Productions, Holliday has worked for three years as a videographer filming a variety of things from weddings to music videos.

Holliday is also building a company called Manifest that focuses on brotherhood. He said it started “with the missions that young men are missing that old kind of brotherly camaraderie with one another.” Working with other like-minded individuals, Holliday has been building Manifest alongside a portfolio constructed by Evino Productions.

When you’re doing your own business, you’re kind of alone. There’s not really anybody to turn to, so you [have to] turn within yourself.”

— 2022 RBHS alum, Evan Holliday

School, Holliday said, is a good thing for plenty of people who know what they want to do with their life, but he and Bush both said that, to them, college only made sense if they knew what career they wanted to follow, and that career required a degree. Holliday also emphasized that while he opted not to follow the college road, that did not mean it was ever implausible.

“You can always go back to school,” Holliday said. “For me, it felt like all my friends were moving on to college, and I’m not. So, I’m lost and in this weird bubble, and I’m [going to]have to work and get along on my own. But, actually, I live with two other guys, and one of them goes to college and the other doesn’t. But, I found my little niche group, even outside of college.” 

Also a 2013 RBHS graduate, Allie Linder took a different route to the professional world. Through most of high school, Linder planned on attending Stephen’s College until the end of her junior year where she decided instead on wanting to become a cosmetologist. Linder attended MACC where she received an associate’s degree and moved on to cosmetology school. In comparison to a four-year university, MACC was free, Linder said, and her total debt was only $4,500 compared to the national average $104,000 for in-state, on-campus living at a public institution.  Linder has worked on hair since then, for five years at Bella Salon to build a clientele before making the switch to her own private studio in July 2023. 

Bush, Holliday and Linder all entered different fields but enjoyed the privilege of creating and operating around their own schedule. Holliday emphasized that the ability to construct his own schedule was his favorite part of being self-employed, but he also mentioned that it came with a couple of downsides.

“The hardest part of [not having a boss] is working when there’s nobody around to kind of cheer you on. So in a work environment or institution, you can look to your classmates,” Holliday said. “When you’re doing your own business, you’re kind of alone. There’s not really anybody to turn to, so you [have to] turn within yourself.” 

Holliday also said that alongside not having people to hold him accountable, structure is a challenge. It is one thing to not work alongside another person, but it is another to be completely responsible for the way a schedule is built. To combat this, Bush said he spent his time at Chris McD’s and in his own business filling that schedule with work. In school, Bush said there was always an emphasis on working smarter rather than harder, but that he “didn’t have that option,” so he worked harder to find success. Linder said she felt something similar when it came to her own path to success, but for her, being goal-oriented was important.

“My parents always instilled in me that whatever I wanted to do,” Linder said. “I should always aim to be the best I can at it. That’s something that stuck with me and I think is so important when considering [the] future. Regardless of career choice, ambition and passion for what you are doing will take you far.” 

All three have different stories, just like every RBHS graduate, even as they found their own way rather than attending college. All three similarly conveyed that success doesn’t come from an institution or a diploma. Each relied on themselves and their own work ethic and grit to get to where they are, and while their stories are far from over, it was their collective hope that each student should be confident and happy in all that they do. For Bush, he said that came from his roots in the Christian faith, but also a strict adherence to forming an honest character.

“I would definitely encourage [students] to stay faithful and just worry about your character,” Bush said. “Worry about your integrity and the things people can’t take from you. You can lose a job because you made a mistake, but as long as you don’t lose your character then that can carry you on and you can go to your next job and learn from it. […] It’s not a matter of if you can be trained, it’s just a matter of what character you carry.”


Are you going to a four year college? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Contributors
Josiah Anderson
Josiah Anderson, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Senior Josiah Anderson is the co-editor-in-chief of Bearing News and the Sports Editor. He is also the announcer for RBHS Baseball. In his free time, Josiah likes to read, write, watch the Cardinals and play disc golf.
Kaden Rhodes
Kaden Rhodes, Staff Photographer
Junior Kaden Rhodes is a staff photographer for Southpaw and Bearing News. He loves rock climbing, weightlifting and driving.

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