By Dan McGrath
The scoreboard didn’t cooperate, but it hardly mattered to the near-capacity crowd that turned out at Leo for Bill Holland Alumni Night on Friday, January 20.
Leo’s Alumni Association sponsors a basketball outing each season. The Mt. Carmel game was chosen for this year’s event, and it was dedicated to the memory of Bill Holland ’73, whose death in June from a heart attack hit all of us in Leo Community like a punch to the stomach.
Bill was the Class of ’73 valedictorian, student body president and football captain—a quintessential Leo Man. And he didn’t stop being the quintessential Leo Man as an alum—he served on the school’s Advisory Board, he was an active, engaged member of the Alumni Association, he was a regular at pretty much every Leo event that was held.
“Other than his family and his many friends, I don’t know of anything that meant more to Bill than his association with Leo,” his wife Cathy said.
With that in mind, Bill’s family and friends decided to fund a Leo scholarship in his name. “Seed money” came from in-lieu-of-flowers donations received during the wake and funeral. Contributions continued to roll in after the services, enough to fund a full scholarship for a former junior high student of Bill’s teacher/daughter Colleen—the young Leo Man is currently a sophomore, and his tuition will be covered for the remainder of his time here.
Additional funding came from a share of Alumni Night gate receipts and the sale of commemorative T-shirts. In all, more than $12,000 has been raised, so there will be two Bill Holland Scholars walking the halls of Leo beginning next year.
“Bill would be so proud,” Cathy Holland told the crowd as she and daughters Colleen, Mary Kate and Patty were recognized pregame, along with Bill’s grandson Connor, who offered a “Go Leo!” exhortation.
“That he’s able to continue doing things for Leo after he left us … it’s just amazing.”