Standout Student: Park Center's Andrew Chen
Park Center High School senior Andrew Chen is a young adult driven to succeed and he's already proving he's a force in a unique arena.

"I really do like math and chemistry, those are my strong suits," said the 18-year-old Chen.

Hardworking, motivated, and "all in" are the words Chen's teachers use to describe him, but Chen has a slightly different word to describe himself: competitive.

"I'm probably the most competitive person on this planet when it comes to board games, volleyball, or academics," said Chen. "I always strive to be the best; I always try to do my best."

One good way to set the stage for a story about Chen would be to start with an example from theater.

Chen had never been in theater before, but this year he decided to audition for the school's spring musical, "Mary Poppins," and Chen decided to try out for a lead role. Although he ended up with a supporting role instead, Chen was also tapped to serve as dance captain, teaching other students the choreography.

"We needed somebody in that role who was a leader and who kids look up to, and it's difficult to do that sometimes with your own peers, but he really stepped up to the challenge. We were really proud of the work he did," said Kate Kallevig, choir and theater director at Park Center.

However, it's volleyball that serves as the best example when it comes to Chen's drive and determination.

"As much as I love it, it's just always on my mind and always in my heart," said Chen about volleyball.

The son of a volleyball coach, Chen has been playing the sport since he was 6 years old. Club teams are where he's honed his skills since boy's volleyball isn't offered in high school athletics. College will be a different story.

"It was an intense moment when I got the call from my coach saying we're offering you a scholarship to go play men's volleyball at a college," said Chen.

Chen will continue to play volleyball in the fall when he attends Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa on an athletic and academic scholarship.

"He's just a kid that will go very far in life because of his self-motivation and his ability to just work really hard to achieve the goals that he wants to achieve," said Kallevig.

Alexandra Renslo reporting
Twitter: @alexrenslo

May 4, 2017


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