DHS Alum Alex Holley Returns to His Alma Mater

DHS Alumnus Alex Holley Returns to His Alma Mater With Hope in Hands
Posted on 06/06/2022
DHS Alumnus A Holley and Teacher N MadisonDeSoto High School Class of 2020 alumnus and boxing Olympic hopeful Alex Holley recently returned to the DeSoto High School campus for a visit. A proud DeSoto Eagle, he came to share his story of positive change on this journey to what he hopes will become an even greater story in the future.

“It feels good to be back here because I got love here. When I first started going to school at DeSoto High School, I was considered a troublemaker. Now that I am doing something positive with my life, it feels good to come back here to get all the love,” he said.

Holley shared that he started boxing in a community club about five years ago while still in high school and is progressing at his sport. He recently qualified to compete in the 2024 Olympics and is documenting his journey.

“I came to DeSoto as a freshman and was always fighting all the time, in school and the streets. Everyone thought I would be a statistic, either dead or in jail. I did not want this to be true.” he said as he recalled his change once he began boxing. “I wanted to make my mother and everyone else around me proud. So I got in the gym and trained hard. I trained my body and my mind and started to take it seriously.”

Students stopped to see him in the hallway and campus leaders and school resource officers welcomed him but one teacher, cherished by Holley, hugged him with a deep smile and seemingly tears.

Holley quickly shared his reason for spending a little more time with DeSoto High School Career and Technical Education Culinary Arts Instructor Nikena Madison.

“I used to fight every other week, get suspended, and always be in trouble, but Ms. Madison took me under her wings as a motherly figure even before I started boxing,” he said as he shared insight on the treasured bond that almost did not develop due to his initial treatment of her genuine concern.

“Although she is not my mother, we begin to have a mother and son type bond because she looked out for me,” he said. “I made sure that she would see me in the hallway. She would ask about my grades, and how I was doing and tell me to get to class. Just a lot of little things that really meant a lot to me.”

Holley joined a local boxing club as a sophomore, and it quickly became a safe, positive way to channel his energy. After nearly five years and winning several competitions in his weight class and boxing academy, he sees this as his career.” 

“I did not know that this would be my path when I first started, but I developed a love for it. I kept boxing, training, and getting better and better and I realized that this could be more than a hobby, but a (professional) sport. Also, I started meeting people that I would not have met, like Errol Spence Jr. I started training up under him, getting knowledge from him. Now, he treats me like a little brother, which really means a lot to me.” said Holley. 

Holley was inspired to participate in the Olympics by fellow DHS alum Errol Spence, Jr. In addition to Ms. Madison, he thanked his senior principal and campus school resource officers for believing in him. Holley came back to DeSoto to show his roots as he filmed the beginnings of his successful boxing career. He will begin training in Colorado for the 2024 Olympics in January 2023.

As a student who has found his way and passion, Holley shared a note of wisdom for other students learning to navigate conflict and difficult situations.

“Find something you love to do and are good at and channel that energy into something positive. If you like to run track or boxing, then do that. Channel all your energy into that instead of something negative.”