Before facing American Idol judges singer songwriter Phillip Phillips was a student at Albany Technical College.
He turned to education after realizing that his dream of becoming famous may not happen.
"He said well I'm a musician. I love to play music and play guitar but my dad told me that I needed to get a backup plan. So this is what my uncle does, so I came into this field," said Albany Technical College Instructor Robert Permenter.
At the age of 19 Phillips started taking courses for industrial systems technology.
"They're the technicians. They're the ones that do the troubleshooting the repair and the maintenance on automated controls," said Robert Permenter.
Phillips studied during the day and took his courses...but by night he took time off to follow his dreams.
"Several nights in class he would bring his guitar and play in class for us," said Albany Tech Student Bo Moore.
Idol tryouts may have disrupted the student's school attendance but it didn't stop him from maintaining a 3.2 grade-point-average and completing all his coursework.
"He got all of his assignments in early finished up and took all of his exams so we could get him out on a flight on December 11th and now we can tell everyone that he is an American Idol," said Permenter.
Although he'll receive his degree, Phillips won't walk at Albany Tech's graduation on Friday because of American Idol.
"I hope he doesn't have to fall back on his backup plan. That's what I hope. I hope he makes it," said Robert Permenter: