Senior Spotlight: Andrew Li
Updated: Mar 17
By Nadia Jackson
Senior, Andrew Li, has become quite the familiar face throughout his four years at Centennial. Between excelling at clubs such as FBLA and speech and debate and competing in soccer and track, Li has shared his bright personality both inside and outside of the classroom.
Originally drawn to the prospect of competing alongside friends, Li felt that joining the speech and debate team would be a “no brainer.” Though originally difficult to accustom himself to public speaking his freshman year, Li’s involvement has overall been very rewarding.
In the past four years, Li has made incredible strides of growth both professionally and personally. As a testament to his growth in debate, he and his partner Caelen Burand qualified for public forum in nationals, and ended up making it out of the preliminary round to compete against the top 60 teams.
Recently, he was even recognized for earning the National Speech and Debate
Association’s Academic All American Award which honors high school students who have earned the degree of Superior Distinction (750 points); completed at least 5 semesters of high school; demonstrated outstanding character and leadership; and earned a GPA of at least 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.
Noting a need for an accessible way for high school students to learn about speech and debate, Li and a few friends created a virtual camp this past summer. Colorado Speech and Debate Camp (CSDC) combined the expertise of coaches from 15 schools across Colorado and even raised $210 towards donation to the Know Your Rights Camp.
Li’s success spans beyond just speech and debate, however.
Thus far, Li has qualified for nationals three years in a row in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). He even placed second in Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure at the national level his sophomore year.
Despite the merit of nationals, Li finds his fondest memories were simply exploring new cities and getting closer with his now best friends. Between riding electric scooters, exploring all the local eateries, and seeing the San Antonio Zoo his sophomore year, and playing games with friends and exploring Washington D.C.’s sights his freshman year, Li has made lasting memories through these opportunities.
Li has also participated in varsity soccer during all years of high school - three of which the team qualified to compete in playoffs. He credits the team comradery as being core to the feeling of fulfillment he feels being a part of the team.
Li’s involvement at Centennial has been extensive - from four years participating in varsity track, three years as a Sources of Strength Ambassador, three years in Bulldogs for Change, three years competing in Science Bowl, two years as a member of Science National Honors Society, and competing in DECA for the first time this year.
Even with the well-rounded success Li’s hard work has brought, he still considers his greatest accomplishments to be the life lessons he has learned along the way in high school. He finds that within the past four years he has learned to come into his own and to overcome the fear of failure. He shares the advice - “Things aren’t always going to go your way and you’re not going to succeed at everything, and that’s okay.”
Li humbly credits much of his growth to the people that have supported him from the start. From his family who has always kept him on track, the teachers and mentors that have challenged him, to the lifelong friends that have accepted him for him, Li expresses gratitude for all that other people have brought to his life.
Outside of school and extracurriculars, Li loves spending time with his closest friends - whether it be by hiking, going on late night drives, or talking for hours on end at Starbucks. These more simplistic memories have built the strongest bonds that have encouraged Li to grow.
As the end of senior year nears, Li has secured himself as a National Merit Scholarship finalist and a US Presidential Scholars Candidate. Though still in the process of deciding, he intends to attend either Stanford or Yale in the fall to study computer science and economics.
Looking back on his own four years as a Bulldog, Li shares the advice to freshman to make the most of high school because the moments lived now will become memories before you realize.