Clay Aiken graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

High school students who wish to launch careers in the entertainment industry may benefit from attending the alma mater of one of their idols. For example, Clay Aiken, of American Idol fame, graduated from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte, according to USA Today.

While attending UNC, he took a part-time job as an assistant to a boy with autism, and it was this child's mother who urged him to audition for American Idol. Although the show temporarily delayed his academic pursuits, Aiken completed his course work while on tour and graduated with a bachelor's degree in special education in December 2003, the news source reports.

In the years following his American Idol appearance, Aiken has launched nine tours, authored a New York Times best-selling book called Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life with Allison Glock and was the executive producer for a 2004 televised Christmas special, A Clay Aiken Christmas, according to People magazine. He has been a frequent talk show guest on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and he has appeared as a guest star on Scrubs, Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock.

Aiken created the National Inclusion Project in 2003, accepted a UNICEF ambassadorship in 2004, and, in 2006, was appointed for a two-year term to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Reuters reports.

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