Chelsea Hu never could have imagined it. Her father, Guoan, never would have believed it. Longtime volleyball coach George Sullivan couldn’t predicted it.
Chelsea Hu was ... loud?
“When I lead cheers before games, people look at me and say, ‘Wow, you are loud!’” said Hu with a laugh. “The coaches comment on how loud I am. I used to barely talk. Seeing that change is something I never expected.”
For most of her life, Hu was known as the extremely quiet girl. Teachers always made notes on her report cards encouraging her to speak up. She preferred to fade into the background whenever possible.
“She was so quiet when she first got to the team that you were afraid to talk to her about something because you thought she might cry,” Sullivan said. “We didn’t know if she could become a captain and tell people what to do. But she has been incredible.”
Over the last three years, Hu emerged as a star both on the court and off, becoming a vocal leader and All-Conference outside hitter for the Andover High volleyball team that won the Division 1 North title and advanced to the Division 1 state semifinals this season.
“She was very, very shy as a child,” her father said. “But once she started playing volleyball, she became more confident. She seemed to gain mental toughness from coming through in big games.”
Hu was born in Baltimore where her parents, both natives of China, moved so her father could study at Johns Hopkins University. At just a few months old, she then moved with her family to California for her father’s job, then to Revere when her dad was hired as a computer researcher in the physics department at Boston University. The family then moved to Andover.