Grady College love story: Ben and Paula Bolton
Mentors often remind college students to maintain the bonds and relationships built during years on campus. Usually, they remind an audience how current classmates will be important to each other’s stories after college. This was especially true for Ben Bolton (ABJ ’14), from Savannah, Georgia, and Paula Rotondo (ABJ ’14), from Marietta, Georgia, who first crossed paths in Athens in February 2012.
The two were sophomores when they attended an initial meeting to become volunteer staff members for Grady Newsource, the college’s student operated television program.
“I knew right away there was something special about Ben,” Paula said.
“Paula was always sharp,” Ben said. “I enjoyed calling out her last name in the newsroom to joke with her.”
They remained peers on the same track through broadcast classes and participated in many of the same student-oriented events. Their first off campus interaction happened at a Grady sponsored trip.
Ben was president of DiGamma Kappa, the official broadcasting society of UGA. He helped organize a group tour of CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Ben offered to drive a group in his car and Paula quickly volunteered to fill a seat. Those precious moments on the road between Athens and Atlanta became the foundation of their connection.
“Ben played what I know now to be his favorite bands: Rush, Journey, Tom Petty and that era.,” Paula said. “I used that as an opportunity to try and win him over. My mom practically raised me on 70’s and 80’s rock, so I knew how to air drum my heart out.”
The two remained friends throughout their tenure in Athens and through the job search process.
“I remember a day where Paula was the lead producer for Grady Newsource and a potential employer was there to watch the show,” Ben said. “I was the director and had to execute her vision for the broadcast. I admired how Paula handled the pressure of the moment. The employer did as well because they later hired her.”
After graduation, Ben and Paula ended up in different states for their first jobs. Paula was hired as a multimedia journalist for WMAZ-TV in Macon, Georgia. Ben began working as a sports reporter for WAKA in Montgomery, Alabama.
They both fondly remember the dinner where they reconnected. Ben and a fellow Grady alumnus were traveling through Macon. They reached out to Paula to plan a dinner. Paula and her co-worker, another Grady alumna, joined for a Mexican restaurant meal. Ben and Paula locked eyes from across the table and their bond quickly flourished.
“I remember feeling like a bolt of lightning was sent through my body,” Ben said. “I knew the conversations, jokes and energy we had that night was special.”
The two remained in touch and Ben asked out Paula for a date. From there, their journey led them together through theme parks, concerts, sporting events, international trips and many surprises to their wedding day on Nov. 16, 2018.
“If Grady had not provided us with the tools and opportunities it did, who knows if our story would exist,” Paula said.
The Boltons attribute much of their personal development to their time at Grady College.
“Grady gave me the opportunity to meet my future wife, become friends with her, discover her vast potential and eventually have a reason to re-connect with her down the road, which led to the blessings I have today,” said Ben.
The Boltons now live in Atlanta. Ben is a social media producer for Narrative Content Group. Paula is special projects manager at Edible Arrangements corporate.Date: February 13, 2019
Author: Dayne Young, firstname.lastname@example.org