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Assignment: Education - National Geographic Bee

By Lisa Klein, lklein@wkbt.com
Published On: Mar 20 2012 02:45:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2012 07:52:14 PM CDT

SPARTA, Wis. -- Like many kids, Zach Holcomb has a few subjects in school he likes the best.

"I like tech ed, science and geography, of course," said Zach Holcomb, Meadowview Middle School 8th grader.

Zach's passion for landmarks and other cultures was obvious to his 7th grade geography teacher.

"Free time... instead of picking up a free reading book, he would pick up an atlas and read," said Chad Guns, Meadowview Middle School geography teacher. "So, I kind of knew right away at the beginning of the year that he really had a love for it."

"I started taking an interest in geography in second grade," said Holcomb.

So, last year, when Zach was a 7th grader, Mr. Guns encouraged Zach to put his knowledge to the test by competing in the state-wide National Geographic Bee.

"I told him he should probably try out for the school-wide," said Guns. "And he won. Then (he) qualified for state by taking a test."

And he made a good showing at state last year against the other 99 students from across the state.

"I almost made it into the top ten," said Holcomb.

With his 11th place finish, Zach decided to work harder and try again this year.

"Since last year, he really studied hard and he did very well on the school-wide. It was over rather quickly this year," said Guns.

Lisa: "How do you go about preparing yourself to understand the cultures of the world?"

"I just take these quizzes online and they really help me a lot," said Holcomb. "I try to look up in books about different cultures and stuff and where their tribes are located."

Last year, Zach missed a question about Native Americans which knocked him out of the top ten. This year, Zach is most nervous about a different region.

"Africa, Central Africa. That's a little harder sometimes, cause you've got a lot of tribes and stuff," said Holcomb. "I just don't know about that region. So, I work on that a lot."

Hopefully, all of Zach's hard work will help him achieve his goal of getting into the top ten this year and maybe winning it all.

"I'm pretty proud of myself," said Holcomb. "I'm looking forward to it."

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