Last week was a really good one for Reid Bolen.
On Monday, he was named a state winner in the Wendy’s High School Heisman competition for scholar athletes. On Friday, he and his South Aiken Thoroughbreds football team – eight of whom have played together since they were on the Aiken Tigers in elementary school – beat Ridge View 47-28 in the first round of the state playoffs. On Saturday, he met with Sen. Tim Scott in Columbia, seeking a nomination to the Naval Academy.
This week, perhaps as early as today, he’ll find out whether he’s a national finalist for the Wendy’s award.
All those honors were years in the making and Reid earned them all, say those who know him best.
Reid’s father, Tim Bolen, says his son was born with a servant’s heart.
“If you wrote a description of what you want a kid to be, that’s Reid,” Bolen said. “He wants to be good at what he does.”
The South Aiken senior plans to serve his country after college – as an officer in the Marine Corps because “they’re the best.”
Bolen, a cadet lieutenant in South Aiken’s Naval Junior ROTC program, is also being recruited by West Point and the Coast Guard Academy.
Besides being an All-Region and All-State linebacker for the T-Breds, Bolen is ranked seventh in his class of 280 students, has a GPA of 5.134, and has a “high A” in his favorite subject, physics. He wants to get an engineering degree.
South Aiken High counselor Tracie McBride wrote this about Reid in a nonimation for the Celebration of Character award: “Reid ranks in the top 10 of his class and on the football field, he ranks first. He is the first to exceed expectations, he is the first to push the team when they are down, he is the first to set the bar of excellence in a long time to have the potential to be recruited and qualify to play football at a college level in a powerhouse program. Most importantly, though, Reid is the last person to ever accept defeat or make an excuse when it happens.”
Reid’s grandfather, Phil Frederick, said he’s proud Reid wants to serve his country and that he also serves his church, Williston First Baptist, by being an usher and cutting the grass, among other things.
“I never had to get him up on Sundays. He was always up and dressed to go to Sunday school and church,” Frederick said.
Grandmother Jean Frederick, a renowned baker of chocolate cakes, said all five of her grandchildren “turned out wonderful,” but even among them, Reid is exceptional.
Family is very important to the Bolens and the Fredericks have been “co-parents” to Reid and his siblings, Natalie and Grant.
Jean Frederick said her daughter, Reid’s mother Carol, a teacher at Kennedy Middle School, saw the children’s potential “and pushed.”
Reid’s twin Natalie was a Wendy’s winner at the school level and is an All-Star volleyball player on a South Aiken team that made it to the second round of the state playoffs. She also was chosen for the prestigious North-South All-Star team.
She’s been No. 1 in her class for three years and is now nip-and-tuck with another student she trails by 6/100ths of a point.
At South Aiken, Reid is National Honor Society president and his sister is treasurer. Both are leaders in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Natalie is leaning toward Wofford University to major in pre-med with the goal of becoming a dermatologist. Brother Grant is a computer whiz who won a scholarship to study online at the University of Management Technology. It’s a hard school, Tim Bolen said, but Grant’s making good grades.
Tim, a Savannah River Site retiree who now is co-owner of a company that runs the Nevada Test Site, says he can’t say something good about one of his children without mentioning them all.
“They’re all truly exceptional and just great kids,” he said. “God blessed us. It’s been something that has been very good to see.”