By Mr. Mark Heeter (IMCOM)April 17, 2009
SCHWEINFURT, Germany - A quiz for the student of geography: what lies right between Delaware and the District of Columbia' It's the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) - at least it is on the list of 2009 state-level winners of the National Geographic Bee.
And the student who will represent the worldwide DoDDS system at the National Geographic Bee in Washington May 20 and 21 comes from a school in a northern Bavarian town called Schweinfurt.
Miguel Guevara, eighth-grader at Schweinfurt Middle School, won three levels of geography bees over the past several months to capture the title of DoDDS champion and will compete against winners from all the states and U.S. territories for the national title.
"I like reading, and I like countries and things," said Guevara, who ventured into the geography bee two years ago, while in school at Camp Zama, Japan.
"I did it on a whim," he said with a smile. "I had no idea what (the bee) was. I had an interest in history, so that helped me a lot."
Born in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, and a former resident of Texas, Colorado, and Japan, with a grandmother living in Austria, Guevara acknowledged that the geography bee is more than just names of places.
"I like more of the political stuff, the capitals, the countries," he said, recalling having to answer a question about the hardness of the earth in one location.
"National Geographic's mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. Through the National Geographic Bee and everything else we do at the Society, we hope to foster a lifelong passion for learning and to encourage the experience and knowledge of other cultures and lands," said John Fahey, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society in a press release about the bee, posted at http://press.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom.
Still, Guevara can identify, without a split-second of hesitation, Accra as the capital of Ghana and the Amazon as the second-longest river in the world.
"It has the most of volume but it's the second longest," he said. He might need to know that at the National Geographic Bee.