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Exploring careers with Roadtrip Nation
The Roadtrip Nation class - photo by Ryan Gaylor

Christopher Ingle used to be a businessman. He used to be chairman of the Conyers-Rockdale chamber of Commerce. He received several awards for his success in the Conyers business world. 

Now, Christopher Ingle is a teacher. And he couldn’t be happier.

Ingle first became involved with education in 2010 after his sister, Caroline Ingle, a teacher at Heritage and former Rockdale County Teacher of the Year, was diagnosed with leukemia.

 “That rocked my world and my family’s world to say the least.” Said Mr. Ingle, “I chose at that time to not go back to work for six months. During that six months, I kind of reevaluated my life, found some new values and priorities, and really saw what Heritage High School did for her. I was really blown away. Nobody supported her more than the school system did.”

The amazing community of teachers and students drew Mr. Ingle into education.

“Through that, I made a decision to jump in with both feet, and started working at Heritage a few months later and started subbing around the county,” said Mr. Ingle.  

Almost three years later, the opportunity arose to start a Roadtrip Nation class at Rockdale Career Academy, and Ingle jumped at the chance.

Ingle’s goal is to present his students with the tools, careers and pathways they need to find a career doing what they love.

What is now Roadtrip Nation began when three recent college graduates, in line to be successful doctors, accountants, and lawyers, realized they would hate to do these things for the rest of their lives. So they hopped in an RV and spent the summer driving around the country and interviewing 80 business leaders from all walks of life.

They documented the experience, which eventually became a PBS television special and formed the curriculum for the Roadtrip Nation class.

The class involves business leaders from within the community interacting with students in the class, either by visiting and speaking to the class, by speaking to the class via a video chatting service such as Skype, or through an interactive Roadtrip where the class visits the speaker at his or her place of business.

Through Roadtrip Nation, Ingle hopes to teach skills such as problem-solving, self-assessment, leadership  and community involvement. 

However, more than anything, Ingle hopes to help his students find a career they love.

Makyle Wilkerson, a sophomore at Heritage High School, is very happy with the Roadtrip Nation class, the skills he is learning as part of the class, and Ingle as a teacher.

“Mr. Ingle is the coolest guy ever,” said Wilkerson, “he is super mellow, knows how to keep us on track, and knows how to keep us interested. He really does everything he can to help us succeed, both in class and in life.”

Ingle is currently looking for businesses and individuals within the Rockdale community to ensure Roadtrip Nation is successful.

The primary way for community members to help with the class is to speak, either in person or through Skype. “If you are positive and love what you do, we want to hear from you. The kids always love seeing people come through those doors,” said Ingle.

Businesses can host a Roadtrip. If a business is willing to let 10–15 students come to its facility and see how the business does what it does and where it’s done, the business would be a great candidate for hosting a Roadtrip.

Monetary donations are accepted. Roadtrip Nation does incur expenses associated with its operation, and any financial support is welcome.

For more information, to donate, or to volunteer your time with Roadtrip Nation, contact instructor Chris Ingle at