“I try to lead by example,” he said. “It’s not necessarily about being the guy that gives the motivational speeches, but trying to be somebody people can look up to.”
It’s a model that works well for Reini, the captain of the Walker School’s football and swim teams. Reini is also an Eagle Scout and has attended to Walker since kindergarten.
Reini says he learned how to be a leader from his father, Joe Reini, who owns Mason-Grey Corporation, a Cobb-based engineering services company.
Joe Reini said the family always teaches their kids it’s better to lead by example.
“‘Speak softly, but carry a big stick’ resounds in a lot of people’s minds,” Joe Reini said.
Josh Reini has played football for Walker for seven years, dating back to his middle grades.
“I just love it; it’s so much fun,” he said. “There’s nothing like being under the lights.”
He plans to attend the University of Georgia in the fall, where he will join the Honors Program. Georgia just felt right, Reini said, when he took his campus visit. The school offers tremendous opportunities and Reini described the people he met on the visit as “my kind of people.” He plans to join a fraternity when he arrives next fall.
Depending on the results of his Advanced Placement tests, he’ll likely step onto campus with 30 hours of credit, making him a sophomore on day one.
He chose to take AP courses because they offered a different challenge, and Reini also likes the kind of people that tend to take them. He said they are motivated to learn and want to be there, rather than just hoping to pass the course.
Preparing for the future
Business is an interest for Reini, as is math.
“People think of math as not creative, but I think it is,” he said. “It’s about creative problem-solving, finding a way to best explain things.”
Working in multiple areas, as he plans to do with his two college majors, is familiar territory for Reini. He’s a football player and natural athlete, took piano lessons for 12 years and plays drums.
“You meet a lot of different people in each,” he said. “Some people might only play sports, and some people do music. Not many do both, and it’s really cool to meet all these different people and share different bonds with all these people.”
In five years, Reini sees himself possibly in graduate school at Georgia, seeking a master’s in economics. In 10 years, he sees himself owning a business, as his father does today.
He says his dad meets cool people and enjoys what he does, which appeals to him as well.
Reini’s dad also was his assistant scout master in the Boy Scouts. Reini has been a Scout since the first grade. For his Eagle Scout project, he built a storage building for use by Walker’s athletic teams. His dad cherishes the memories.
“I don’t think there’s a better way for a father and son to bond than through the diversity of experiences we were in,” said Joe Reini. “Those are moments that I won’t forget, and I’m certain he won’t forget throughout his life.”
Attending the same school for 13 years is something Josh Reini has also enjoyed. He’s still in touch with several former teachers and has grown up with many of the same people over the last decade.
“I love how we come together as a Walker family,” said Reini. “That’s not something you can get at most places. Everybody really cares about everybody.”
Rob Holman has taught math to Reini for the last two years and also taught him percussion this year. Reini says Holman is a blast to be around and one of the reasons he wants to major in math.
Holman is equally enthusiastic when talking about his student.
“You can tell he cares about representing himself well,” Holman said. “He’s concerned about the learning process. He does things for the sake of doing them, rather than because he expects to earn credit for it.”
This is Holman’s 12th year at Walker. When he started getting to know Reini last year, he was shocked he hadn’t heard about the student before. But as he began asking other faculty, they all agreed what a great kid Reini was.
To highlight Reini’s work ethic, Holman talked about times when he’d pose a difficult math question at the end of class and tell the students they had a few days to work on it. Whereas some students might blow off the question until later, Reini would attack it right away.
And despite Reini’s many accomplishments, Holman describes him as one of the kindest, most humble people’s he’s met.
“He’s quiet, he’s very quiet,” said Holman. “He’s not withdrawn; he’s just a quiet guy. He’s comfortable talking to you. He’s very affable and approachable, but he’s not going to go in there and bang the drum and rally everybody. He’s just going to do what he’s supposed to do. He leads by doing the right thing and expecting other people to notice that and follow along.”
In five years, Holman sees Reini doing whatever he wants, saying he can’t imagine the student not being successful.
“He’s naturally competent,” Holman said. “He’s about the nicest person I’ve ever worked with.”