Students at Liberty Middle School will be hosting their annual powder puff game today to honor the memory of Torrell Holley.
Holley was a proud member of the Liberty Lions basketball and football teams during his time at the school. On October 19, 2001, he collapsed in the middle of a basketball tryout session and died from cardiac arrest a short time later. The autopsy concluded a rare heart condition, unknown to his family at the time, as the cause of his death.
The powder puff game raises money for the Torrell Holley Scholarship Award for $2,000 that will go to a graduate of James Clemens High School. There is also the Torrell Holley Spirit Award, which is given to a member of the eighth grade class each year that best exemplifies Torrell's character traits
Torrell's father, Charlie Holley, delivered a motivational speech to a group of students at the school this morning about the impacts of bullying. This is an especially important matter to Mr. Holley, because his son was bullied as a child.
The motivational speeches are something he has been doing for a number of years now through C.L. Holley Ministries. His main focus is to talk with students about character, bullying, and standing up for what is right.
After Torrell passed away, the family received numerous letters from his classmates with messages of sympathy and memories they shared with him. The letters brought great comfort to the family in their time of grief.
One of the letters that Mr. Holley received was from the very person that bullied Torrell.
"When we read that letter, I almost cried. Because in that letter, that student said you have taught me a valuable lesson. And he said I will never bully anybody else again. That letter, I think, touched me the most out of the hundreds of letters that we received for him," said Holley.
"I think his life. I think other kids learned from his life. Even though we may not know it, they may not say it. But I think a lot of students really looked up to Torrell for the way that he handled bullying, by not fighting back. By not, you know, arguing back. But just being who he was. Which is kind, considerate, that was my son," added Holley.
Blake Flowers, owner of Logo's Screen Printing, was a friend of Holley's. He was guarding Torrell at the basketball tryout session when he collapsed. His company designed and made the tshirts for the powderpuff game this year.
Logo's contributed one dollar for every tshirt the school ordered towards the scholarship. Flowers says, "Those shirts were truly as bright as Torrell's personality was."
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