In today’s world, education is placed at an extremely high premium. As the recession has hit the world, more and more professions are requiring higher levels of education before they hire. It seems that it isn’t even enough to get a bachelor’s degree. Now, graduate school is almost an absolute must in order to ensure a successful job.
It seems like education is the only path to financial and business success—or is it? While it may be true that education improves the path to success there are numerous people who have had ultra-successful lives and careers without graduating high school. That’s right, high school. There may be hope for those who haven’t gained significant education prowess after all. Here’s a list of several ultra-successful people in different industries who never graduated high school.
Dave Thomas - Founder of Wendy's
Photo/WikiMedia Commons User: Specious
Have you ever had a late night frosty? You know what I’m talking about. That delectable little shake (or something like a shake) that satisfies any and all late night desert cravings. Or maybe you splurged and purchased a junior bacon cheeseburger with fries. I think most of us have been to Wendy’s and many of us have this person to thank for satisfying the guiltiest of midnight food pleasures. Dave Thomas is the creator of Wendy’s, the popular American fast food chain. You probably recognize his face if you have ever been in the fast food restaurant. Dave dropped out of school at 15 years old. He became a millionaire at the age of 35 and started his first Wendy’s in the late 60’s, and now the chain has grown to be a national staple. He did all of that without a high school diploma early on (he did receive his diploma later in life).
Peter Jennings - Famous Newscaster
Then there’s the next person on our little list. If there was one job that seems impossible to do without a good education, it’s broadcasting. Some of the famous broadcasters of our day have gone to prestigious journalism schools and put in years of schooling to gain national recognition. This is, however, not the same for Peter Jennings. Peter Jennings has been a staple for nightly news for years. He made an illustrious career out of his unique broadcasting abilities, all without graduating high school. Peter apparently didn’t do very well scholastically at a younger age. He reportedly failed the 10th grade and never looked back. Apparently you don’t need to graduate high school to be successful in broadcast journalism.
Quentin Tarantino - Actor, Director and Writer
Johnny Depp - Actor
Richard Branson - Founder of Virgin Records and other Virgin
Walt Disney - Found of the Disney Empire
And then there’s the next man on our list. Can you think of the happiest place on earth? While different people might have different interpretations of just where this place is, I’m talking about the one and only place. Yes, in talking about Disneyland. While Disneyland may be the self proclaimed happiest place on earth, few can dispute its success in bringing smiles an memories to millions each year. When you really think about it, who do you know that hasn’t heard of Disneyland? And then there’s the Disney empire. You know Disney. It’s the company behind such classics as Cinderella, Snow White, and Fantasia—just to name a few. Or, what about that lovable character Mickey Mouse? Disney is one of the most famous, successful and recognizable names and companies in history. Walt Disney is the mastermind behind Disney. He accomplished unbelievable feats in the business world and revolutionized entertainment. The one thing Walt Disney didn’t do—graduate high school.
Tom Petty - Musician
Most people would feel like they were free falling after dropping out of high school, but not our last name on the list. Tom Petty, the international music icon has had unbelievable success all without a high school diploma. Seriously, think about it. How many people do you know that couldn’t hum the tune to a Tom Petty song? Ok, maybe not everyone knows who he is but many know his songs. Even the younger, rising generation knows Tom Petty almost as well as the generation that grew up with him. He will forever be an iconic figure in the history of rock and roll. What he doesn’t have, however, is a high school degree. Tom Petty dropped out of school around the age of 17 to pursue his career in entertainment.
While furthering one's education can help improve your chances of success,
these examples do show that anything is possible. It may not work for everyone,
these few select people successfully accomplished their goals and careers without
ever graduating high school. Maybe a diploma isn’t all that it’s
cracked up to be.