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Liberty pays tribute to the late Torrell Holley

Liberty Middle School is remembering Torrell Holley, who died while playing basketball in the gym on Oct. 19, 2001. (CONTRIBUTED)
Liberty Middle School is remembering Torrell Holley, who died while playing basketball in the gym on Oct. 19, 2001. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Liberty Middle School is remembering Torrell Holley by an activity that gave him great fulfillment — sports.

Liberty’s annual powderpuff football game on May 15 at 2 p.m. will be devoted to Holley.

On Oct. 19, 2001, 13-year-old Torrell Holley was playing basketball at Liberty “when he suddenly collapsed while running down the court — dying moments later from cardiac arrest,” his father Charlie Holley said. “The autopsy concluded a rare heart condition known as ARVD (arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia).”

Charlie and Cassandra Holley have a daughter, Kiana.

“After the tragedy, all factions at Liberty united, demonstrating their outpouring of sympathy, comfort and support for the Holley family,” Charlie said. However, this support didn’t end with Holley’s death but continued in various ways.

The powderpuff game serves to raise funds for the Torrell Holley Scholarship Award and “shares the tremendous characteristics of Torrell with Liberty students. Those characteristics are sportsmanship, great team spirit and a genuine love for all,” Charlie said.

Current Liberty students often ask, “Who was Torrell?” when they see his wall plaque, the Torrell Holley banner waving in the gym and his retired No. “80” football jersey in the Lions trophy case. “Every year, that question and many more are answered at the powderpuff football game,” Charlie said.

Courtney Elrod, who teaches drama and digital communications at Liberty, is coordinating the memorial tribute. Elrod didn’t know Torrell personally. She was an eighth-grader at Discovery Middle School when he died.

However, she “grew up with many classmates who were close with him. Now that I teach at Liberty, I feel very compelled to remind our students of the wonderful example he set,” Elrod said.

A Liberty eighth-grader who best exemplifies Torrell’s character traits will receive the annual Torrell Holley Spirit Award on May 15 at Liberty. On Awards Day, the annual Torrell Holley Scholarship Award for $2,000 will go either to a Bob Jones or a James Clemens high school graduate who previously attended Liberty.

 

 

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