Fourth grader wins school geography bee

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 16, 2010

NATCHEZ — For the past few days, McLaurin Elementary fourth grader Zachary Barnes has been gaining a literal world of knowledge by studying continents, history and geography for his school’s geography bee.

And on Thursday, he walked away with a victory and a chance to test to compete on the state level.

Barnes, the son of Sandra and Clinton Barnes Jr., was ranked in the top 10 geography students out of his class of approximately 350.

Email newsletter signup

The geography bee is sponsored by National Geographic and is aimed at fourth through eighth graders.

Days before competing against his nine fellow classmates, Barnes said he began preparing to answer questions that would also be presented to fourth through eighth graders across the state.

“My mother helped me by reading a geography book with me,” Barnes said.

Barnes was awarded first place after answering questions that have not been covered in his social studies classes or within fourth grade curriculum.

“They were kind of hard, but I somehow managed to answer them all,” Barnes said.

After being named geography bee champion, Barnes said he was surprised.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe I won.’

“I was thinking that my mother came (to see me compete), and I thought she was so proud, and I was proud too,” Barnes said.

Barnes’ next step toward the state competition will be to study for and take an hour-long National Geographic written exam to see if he qualifies for one of the 100 students in the state chosen to compete.

“I’m excited about competing (Ms. Evelyn Geter) gave me a book and a Web page to help me study, and I’m going to study until next time,” Barnes said.

But the extra studying won’t be a problem for Barnes who said his favorite subjects in school are math and social studies.

“In social studies, they talk about history, and math has all types of numbers and fractions and other things,” Barnes said.

Natchez-Adams School District Gifted Contact Person Evelyn Geter said Barnes’ teachers Shanieka Christmas and Judy Johnson were proud of their student’s accomplishments and were cheering him on with his upcoming test.

“This is something that he did that no one else has done and it will give him something to look forward to,” Geter said. “He will probably try to study every year to see if he can be the top scorer.”