Mars Hill Academy senior Holly Edwards is the first student athlete since MHA's founding to sign a national letter of intent to play college athletics. Her volleyball scholarship to Trivecca Nazarene University, an NCAA Division II school, will enable her to pursue Early Childhood Education and minor in sports management.

"I did not discover volleyball until I was in seventh grade. I heard about club and decided I wanted to be on a team. Since I was four years behind everyone else, I put in long hours on my own," she explained. "However, all my hard work payed off when I was accepted onto Cincinnati Volleyball Academy's top team in eighth grade. I learned so much from that season, including that I wanted to play volleyball in college."

The versatile 5'10" outside/right side hitter from Liberty Twp. helped lead the MHA Lady Highlanders Varsity squad to its third consecutive OCSAA State Championship this October. Her numerous volleyball accomplishments include 2016 All-Conference First Team, 2016 Conference Player of the Year, 2015 Side-Out Varsity All Tournament Team, and 2014 Paw Invitational All-Tournament Team.

"Holly is a fiercely loyal individual with a great passion for life, and it shows in how she plays the game of volleyball," said MHA Athletic Director and volleyball coach Sam Ricketts. "Her passion and play have helped inspire many young volleyball athletes -- not only at MHA but also throughout the conference and the greater Cincinnati area. We will miss her deeply."

Edwards, the daughter of Keith and Erin Edwards, has earned yearly Headmaster's List academic awards as a distinguished scholar in the classroom, and her community service outreach is exemplary. She served in junior high school coaching endeavors, volunteered as a Sunday school teacher, and helped with K-12 plays and musicals. She also went on two weeklong mission trips to the Dominican Republic.

"We are getting an incredibly gifted student-athlete in Holly. When she came for a team workout, we nicknamed her the 'Hammer.' She is an incredible force at the net with her offensive prowess," said TNU Coach Jayme Crowley. "We are getting more than a volleyball player in Holly. We are getting a young woman who will be a competitive yet compassionate leader and a pacesetter for faith on the field, in the classroom, and in the community."

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. For more information, please call 513-770-3223 or visit www.marshill.edu.

Photo: Shown is Mars Hill Academy senior Holly Edwards (center) with her parents Erin (left) and Keith (right) Edwards. Holly is the first student in MHA's history to sign a national letter of intent to play college athletics