2003 McNary Graduate Austin Bibens-Dirkx was called up to play for the Texas Rangers (Major League Baseball) this weekend. Aside from this being a really exciting moment for one of our alumni, it is also a great example of perseverance. Austin is 32 years old and has been toiling in the minor leagues for twelve years. His path has been long, and he could not have made it this far without a lot of grit and determination. Considering the work that we are trying to do at McNary, I’d think his story would be a great example for many of your students to know about.
McNary’s 6th Annual Athletic Booster Club Fundraiser will be held on June 3rd and social hour begins at 5pm.
The auction and dinner will be held at the Log House Garden at Willow Lake, 5655 Windsor Island Rd. N Keizer, OR 97303.
Tickets can be purchased at mcnaryabc.com and if you are interested in donating something for auction please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Kyle Kuhns graduated from McNary in 2011. He’s now twenty-two and lives in Hollywood, California. Kuhns owns his own artist management company, XX Artists. He has owned XX Artists for roughly a year. “In addition to managing clients other companies–like Sony Music Entertainment–have me work on their artist/project social media and marketing strategy as well,” Kuhns said.
Three years ago he moved to LA to be in the entertainment industry. Initially he wanted to get a job being an actor or singer. That passion quickly faded. “I realized there was an entire backend to the entertainment industry that really fascinated me,” Kuhns said. He also figured that artist management was more stable than actually being an artist. He had a lot of other jobs, like interning at an insurance company and working at Starbucks, before he moved to LA.
Kuhns’ parents were extremely supportive when he moved to California. “They have never placed limitations on what I aim to achieve, what I strive for, or what I dream about.” said Kuhns. The only concern they possible had was him not finishing his degree. He got a lot of real world experiences than if he had continued going to college. “I have studied my craft, career, and our world more broadly than I ever would have by continuing to study at university.” Kuhns said
Kuhns was always interested in music. According to Kuhns, music was his first love. “Music will always be such a vital part of who I am and how I identify myself regardless of where my career takes me.”
“It was very obvious as a freshman that he was going to be a very active singer,” Mr. Jim Taylor said. “He was really talented right off the bat and showed a lot of leadership skills.”
Some of Kuhns’ favorite teachers at McNary were Mr. Taylor, Mrs.Susanne Stefani, Mrs.Patricia Faris, Mrs.Linda Olson, and Mrs.Jessica Graham. Overall, there wasn’t a teacher that Kuhns’ didn’t like at McNary.
At McNary, Kuhns took Mr.Taylor’s Musical Theater, Concert Choir, Highland Classics, and Highland Jazz classes. According to Mr.Taylor he was a superb student. “He was very dedicated and committed. He always followed through with what he said he was going to do. He motivated kids to work hard and kids followed his lead. He was one of the core leader for the state championship.”
Kuhns is able to come to Oregon quite often. He is in Oregon roughly every six weeks. One of his most recent visits was October 14th through October 20th.
He has had a lot of supporters along the way. Family and best friends that he has had throughout his life have been big supporters. Other supporters range from teachers to bosses to absolute strangers. According to Kuhns inspiration and motivation can come from anyone. “I try and allow that to happen and be open to the support the world provides me.” Mr.Taylor is definitely one of Kuhns’ supporters. He always knew that he would be in the music industry and would be successful. “He was always going to be somebody in the music industry. He was either going to be a singer or he was basically going to produce music.”
When describing Kuhns’ personality, Mr.Taylor said he is genuine, honest, creative and lives life to the fullest.
Kuhns has some advice for anyone who wants to make a living singing or acting. “Be smart and educate yourself about the industry. Be cautious, but have character. Take all opportunities to showcase your talent. Find a mentor.”