He also took on a large burden of responsibility at a tender age, helping his parents in the running of the family farm and taking on the management of as many as 30 farmworkers. Then he joined Sanger High School in 10th grade, where he was an accomplished athlete, excelling in basketball, track and football.
Along came the Great Depression of the 1930s, and like so many American communities, Sanger suffered from it. The Hollingsworth family’s finances were stretched, but James was determined to see his education through. When he didn’t arrive at school on horseback, he made his way there on foot.
After leaving school, still fired by his firm resolve to get a good education, Hollingsworth went on to North Texas Agricultural College in 1935. He spent a single year there before moving on to Texas A&M College, majoring in dairy science and vocational agriculture. Always the willing worker, he got himself a job at the college dairy.