Alumni Profile

You’re sitting down for dinner with the family, and your senior—who has attended a classical Christian school since kindergarten—suddenly blurts,  “Mom and Dad, I don’t think I want to take the traditional path and go to college.”  You blink and look at each other, not knowing exactly what to say, but are partly relieved because you’ve been thinking about upcoming costs of tuition and the culture of today’s universities.  But what about that degree?  What about a job that will support your student as they leave the nest… not to mention a future family?

The goal of the ACCS is to train students to think critically, to lead, to be winsome as they write and speak with eloquence, to love goodness, Truth, and beauty. If we’re doing this well, sometimes it leads to college—and sometimes it doesn’t.

We’ve heard about graduates who pursued a different path and wanted to hear their stories. 

Jack Stewart graduated from The Ambrose School (ID) in 2021.  For six years, Jack sold eggs from the family farm to teachers and families on campus.  His senior year brought many questions, including what to do about college and his small but growing business.  He decided the cost of a four-year degree was too much and he wanted to continue with his business.  He enrolled in an agribusiness program at a local community college and signed with three local grocery stores.  The transition to retail was challenging, but the stores were eager to help Jack understand the systems of retail.  He soon realized that he would need more hens.  What started with 120 hens in 2021 has grown to 2000 in 2024 and he now sells to nine different grocery stores in the Boise area. He says, “It’s always a good reminder to never underestimate what God is capable of doing with anyone’s life, regardless of talent or circumstances.”

Jack says the rigorous education at Ambrose gave him the ability to breeze through community college while running his business, “Happy Hen Farms.” To those students wondering what to do next, he says, “Don’t be afraid of working hard. But it’s not just ‘working hard’ that is a key to success, since you can work hard without accomplishing anything. Work hard with a goal and a purpose in mind. Being brought up in a classical school where you are challenged to think and  analyze makes it easier to figure out what you’re working toward. And ultimately at the end of the day, keeping the mindset of ‘who am I doing this for?’ is key. Because as Christians, we should be seeking to make our work on this earth glorifying to God so we can be a light among the darkness, but also because that is what we are commanded to do!”

Sara Bradshaw graduated from Cedar Tree Classical Christian School (WA) in 2020.  She had some interest in college, but since most schools were only offering online classes at that time, she took a job as a nanny for six months.  Sara had always been interested in helping people look and feel their best, so she decided to go to cosmetology school. After 1600 hours of training, she was fully licensed. She now specializes in men’s cuts in Vancouver.

Sara was taught self-motivation and excellence at Cedar Tree. She says, “The ability to self-motivate is pivotal in a career where your progress and success depend solely on the work you, yourself put in. Skills like time management and communication are other aspects of my education which can be used in any field. Whether interacting with clients or co-workers, the practice I had cultivating relationships with classmates and teachers has paid off. Bosses and instructors I’ve had over the years have commented again and again on my reliability and eagerness to learn. These traits are built in the home and cultivated in the environment of a classical Christian school.” 

To students considering options after graduation, she wants them to know: “Don’t be pressured by the expectation to attend college. College has a time and a place, but it’s not essential to serving God well. The reasonable prices of trade schools are also a big draw! One thing I found helpful was shadowing a few people in the field I was considering. This can shed some light on what your life would look like down the road if you did pursue the route. Whatever choices you make, put God at the center and trust Him in all things.”

Dylan Matson graduated from Cedar Tree Classical Christian School (WA) in 2018.  He immediately began working as a farmhand and started operating heavy machinery 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.  He then applied to Cascade Electrical and entered trade school.  His company paid for school and he was the foreman’s right-hand man by his 2nd year.  By the 3rd year, he was training other young men and was in charge of panel production.  By his 4th and final year of trade school, Cascade brought him into the office to analyze and streamline processes.  He now manages software implementation and makes his own schedule.

Upon graduating from Cedar Tree, Dylan had not been able to decide on a career.  “I was not willing to jump into massive debt for something I was unsure of. After working hard for so long, I had learned to love it. The satisfaction of working with your hands and working towards a goal with a team was an unbeatable experience.”

Dylan is now a General Journeyman Electrician.  He tells students that may be unsure of what to do next: “My classical education helped me learn my trade quickly, but helped me more in deepening my faith. If you are unsure of what you want to do in life, it’s wise to take time to pray and work for a while. I learned the lesson that hard physical labor mixed with complicated electrical situations is what makes my job enjoyable in the long term. The trades develop useful skills that can be used all around the world and in everyone’s daily life.”

Tim Benninger graduated from Oakdale Academy (MI)  in 2018.  He had started an early college program his junior year where he simultaneously worked for a company making pressure vessels. Tim had always loved building things and taking things apart, and his parents encouraged him to pursue his ability to think in shapes and work with his hands.

Tim reflects on his time at Oakdale: “It helped because there was always a theme of biblical Truth no matter what class I was in. We saw God in math and literature and music, and this has prepared me to work hard and do my best for my employer and for His glory. People notice I’m different, and this is thanks to my classical Christian education and the Lord.”

Tim now works as an Aerospace Welder for Williams International in Pontiac, MI.  He gives this advice to graduates: “Lean on God’s unwavering faithfulness and truth. And while you’re at it, pick up welding! It’s the best trade of them all!” 


 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” 

—Colossians 3:23 NKJV