Tyler Holland is pictured with Lindy Callahan.
Tyler Holland is pictured with Lindy Callahan.
Tyler Holland of Neshoba Central High School has been named as a recipient of the prestigious Lindy Callahan Award.

He was recognized in Jackson Monday during a luncheon.

Sponsored by the Mississippi High School Activities Association, and named in honor of the longtime educator and athletic director of Gulfport High School, Lindy Callahan, the program recognizes 16 outstanding high school seniors. High schools from across the state can select a boy and girl for the competition. An eight-person selection committee chooses the award winners based on a combination of academic excellence, participation in athletics and contributions to their schools and communities. This year, 294 students across the state applied to be considered.

Each scholar receives a $1,500 college scholarship through the support of the MHSAA’s partners.

This is the third year in a row Neshoba Central has had a Callahan recipient. Jake Fanning was named in 2017, and Alex Bowen received the honor in 2018. Bowen went on to become a finalist in the National Athletic Administration award.

During his years at Neshoba Central, Holland played football, was on the bowling team that won the state championship in 2018 and played on the golf team. As he prepares to graduate in May, Holland has a 4.03 grade point average and is sixth in his class. He has a 33 on the ACT.

After high school, Holland plans to attend Mississippi State University and major in Biological Engineering. He plans to be a doctor and is looking at orthopedics.

He is getting a taste of the medical life now through an internship at Neshoba General hospital. He is working about 10 hours a week, shadowing the doctors.

“I’ve seen a lot things,” Holland said. “Kids come in coughing with fever. I have seen broken bones and blood.”

And while this has been his senior year in high school, most of the courses Holland has taken are college level. Holland has all A’s in English Composition I & II; Biology I & II, College Algebra I & II, Trigonometry I & II, music appreciation and American History I & II.

“The only high school course I took my senior year was government and economics,” Holland said. “I would study for those and then shift into the college courses.”

It sounds like a lot and it is. But also consider throughout his high school career, Holland stayed busy with athletics. And there is where he learned valuable lessons along the way.

Looking back, he talked about the 2018 football season in which the Rockets won 10 games and made the state playoffs for the first time in years. That just didn’t happen.

“There were obstacles,” said Holland, who started at offensive tackle. “Our class starting in middle school went through four different coaches, lost a lot of games and had injuries to key players.

“You have to have faith in what you can do. During my freshman year when we were getting blown out, we said this was not going to happen during our senior year. We are going to be the ones who send people home upset on Friday night.

“We were so close my junior year but we had injuries. We had great leadership. It was a growing year. We saw what we could do,” Holland said.

Holland earned Mississippi High School Bowler of the Year his junior year while helping to lead Neshoba Central to the school’s first state championship for boys in any sport. Focus and hard work played into this as well.

“The day we won state was an electric day,” Holland said. “I broke three state records and we won the state championship. It was amazing.”

The key he said was time management.

“If I had any advice to give,” Holland said. “I would tell you to stay motivated. During your senior year, it is easy to get senioritis. Know where you are and enjoy the moment because it goes by fast. But don’t procrastinate.”

Holland said he is looking forward to joining his sister, Haley, who is a junior at Mississippi State.

“I was raised going to ballgames at Mississippi State,” Holland said.

Tyler is the son of Tommy and Sharon Holland.

“Receiving the Callahan award is a testament to the kids, their parents and the teachers and staff in our school district,” Superintendent Lundy Brantley said. “It is a product of hard work and a high level of expectations.

“To have one student in your school win the award is special. To have students win it three years in a row is a really big deal. It is truly amazing. They are Rockets and we are proud of them.”