Nolan McBride - a young man on a mission...or two.


Nolan McBride, a Grand Haven senior, is a young man on a mission. The mission is one of his own design – it seems that as far back as his parents can remember Nolan wanted to excel in a sport and to be a top student. There is every indication that he has been able to meet his goals while maintaining a humble personality and being the type of young man who watches out for the underdog.
Golf coach Randy White reports that McBride was All Conference last year and had an unusual story to share about the beginning of Nolan’s 2009 season. It seems that Nolan broke his foot playing dodge ball in January and his foot was still healing by the start of golf season. Most of us would have remained on the bench, but Nolan figured out a way to take some of the pressure off his foot while still participating in his favorite sport: He practiced and played the first two matches on crutches!
Coach White has been around golf his whole life and has been a PGA professional for 25 years and Nolan’s actions took him by surprise.
“He just could not NOT play – he had to play,” White related. “He figured out a way to use crutches and play golf. I have never seen that done. It was a lot of fun when he walked down the fairway. Coaches would ask me, ‘Is Nolan really playing?’ It was hilarious.”
For his part, McBride was very matter of fact when we discussed golf on crutches. Nolan remembers that he started golfing when he was eight years old and describes himself as “a lifer” when it comes to his future plans with the sport.
“[Golf] is one of the most frustrating things I can do,” Nolan continued. “But if you make one great shot, then it is all worthwhile.”
In the classroom, McBride shows the same kind of determination as he does on the links. He is the oldest of Steve and Joy Glaze’s three children and has blazed a great academic trail for the others to follow. When he was an elementary student Nolan was taking middle school classes, he studied at the high school when he was in the eighth grade and all of his classes this year are Advanced Placement (AP). McBride likes science and his favorite class right now is AP Biology. His GPA of 4.3 is strong enough to earn him a full ride academic scholarship at the Honors College at Ferris State. Steve Glaze described Nolan as “scary smart”.
“He has an ability to pick up knowledge, recall things and understand vast concepts that you don’t see in many people. He has an amazingly open mind and can debate both sides of most issues,” Glaze stated. “Every day with him is fun. He is a joy to be around and I am very proud of him.”
The mixture of great abilities combined with a personality that is easy to get along with resonated with everyone we spoke to about Nolan. While recognizing his academic prowess, which she really came to appreciate after meeting with his teachers recently and getting exposed to the difficult workload of his AP classes, Joy Glaze described her son by telling us he is “extremely kind and caring.” She related that he is always eager to assist others.
“He helps other kids with golf or with math. They don’t even have to ask, he just steps up and offers to help,” Joy told us. “He is really a great kid – every mother’s dream.”
Along with his studies in science, Nolan has been learning Spanish for several years. By the time you are reading this, Nolan will be putting all of his education to good use in the Galapagos Islands. His maternal grandmother, Pam Gaskill, has given McBride his graduation present a little early. Along with their parents, Nolan and his younger sister Kendall, will be flying to Ecuador where they will board a ship and head out to the Galapagos to work with people from National Geographic doing research and data collection on the Islands for two weeks. Younger brother Connor is not going because he will have a similar trip when he graduates.
As an added bonus, Steve Glaze told me that they will return to Florida just in time for the next launch of the space shuttle on April 12th. On a lark, Steve emailed Congressman Hoekstra about the launch and the upshot of that correspondence is that the family will be picked up at their hotel by a NASA shuttle bus and taken to special reserved seats for the launch. (NOTE: it pays to write members of congress.)
In closing, we would like to leave you with some words of wisdom Joy Glaze spoke about her son, “He displays every aspect of someone who will make changes in the world.”
No doubt.
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