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Taking the Big Stage

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

By Allie Jones

Andrew Li and Josh Thatcher outside of FBLA Nationals.

When summer rolls around, for most students at Centennial High School it means a freedom from responsibilities and homework, but for Centennial High School junior, Andrew Li, summer 2019 was an unforgettable experience. Andrew headed off to Texas to participate in the 2019 FBLA National Competition where he was named a National Champion.

The 2 year FBLA veteran always knew FBLA would be a part of his high school career.

“I saw the value in a good business education, but it was a fantastic way for me to get more involved with school activities,” said Li, “FBLA is something that is going to optimize my memories of high school.”

Li was not alone in his preparation for the national stage. When asked who his biggest influences and motivations were, Li didn’t hesitate one second to answer.

“Definitely my parents and Josh Thatcher,” stated Li.

Li especially credits Josh Thatcher for being a motivator. Along with Li, Thatcher is also a 2 year FBLA veteran. Both have competed at the national level 2 years in a row. And beside from their FBLA connections, Li and Thatcher are extremely close friends which makes the whole experience much better.

Getting to be named an FBLA National champion was just like any other thing to Andrew Li. He described his emotions as “chill” when he had found out.

Chill was not the only emotion Li felt.

“I obviously felt excited, but I felt satisfied knowing my hard work had paid off.”

Li expressed that his FBLA Sponsor, Mr. Madrill, had an entirely different reaction.

“Madrill got more excited than I did and I’m pretty sure he dropped like $700 on a Gucci fanny pack right after,” said Li, “I also heard his heart rate was at 130.”

FBLA Sponsor, Mr. Madrill described the moment differently.

“I remember sliding on my bad knee to get a good reaction video on his phone. I remember sliding into the front of 8,000 people and screaming louder than anyone when he made it to the top three,” said Mr. Madrill.

Mr.Madrill was not just an FBLA sponsor to Andrew Li, but his biggest motivator.

“Andrew Li is a special kid, my only task on how to train him was given to me by his own mother,” said Mr. Madrill. “She remembered how I would irritate her son Kevin, my arch nemesis, and asked that I share that motivation with Andrew. Surely, a genius like Andrew didn’t need my help. He just needed my support and to have fun when we were in San Antonio, not to stress too much.”

Obviously this is not the end for Andrew Li and Mr. Madrill. Since summer 2019 was an unforgettable experience for them both, the two have continued to grow and strategize for the next year in the FBLA season.

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