NATCHEZ — Fourth grader Ethan Moore didn’t let the big kids in eighth grade rattle his nerves at Friday’s statewide National Geographic Bee.
“I did not get nervous,” Moore said.
The McLaurin Elementary School student was one of three fourth graders in a pool of 60 contestants competing in Pearl to advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C., which Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek will host.
Moore earned his spot in the state-level competition by beating participants in grades four through eight from the Natchez-Adams School District.
At state, he placed 40th out of 60 contestants, and eighth graders took first, second and third place, Moore’s mother, Cynthia Moore said Wednesday.
“Darn those eighth graders,” Moore said under his breath.
But at Moore’s rate, he is sure he can get to the capital city after putting a few more grade levels under his belt.
“When I’m in eighth grade I am going to dominate everybody,” Moore said.
National Geographic Society sponsors the nationwide geography competition for U.S. schools for grades four through eight to encourage the teaching of geography.
Moore said questions that dealt with natural disasters and cities and countries were his favorite.
The effects of disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti and recent oil spill in the gulf are sad, Moore said, but he thinks it is very interesting to learn how the events work and how they affect the environment.
Moore said he likes geography, but math is his favorite subject. After rethinking the question, he said he also likes social studies and science.
“And I’m good at reading, too,” Moore said.
“I love school,” he said.
Moore’s hand is often up in the air, ready to answer his teacher’s question, he said.
“Every question I raise my hand if I know the answer,” Moore said.
Cynthia said Ethan has always been a naturally bright student.
Moore said school allows him to meet new people, make new friends and learn more about the world.
“When I participate, it makes school more fun,” Moore said.
Moore’s easily sparked interest and active mind has also made him the class clown at times, Cynthia said.
But Moore is serious about his academics. Cynthia said she does not have to badger her son about his schoolwork because he pushes himself.
Moore admitted he gets upset when he does not fulfill the high expectations that he and his teacher have for him.
Moore has made the honor roll nearly every time he receives a report card, which inspires him to keep the pattern going.
“I push myself a lot to get myself further,” Moore said. “I put my brain to the test.”
Moore is certain of what he wants to be when he grows up — a veterinarian and a Herpetologist (someone who studies reptiles), because he loves animals, especially snakes, and is great with them.
“I can spell (herpetologist), too,��� he said.
The wise-beyond-his-years fourth grader knew what advice to give to other children about how to be successful in school.
“Never drop out of school and participate in class,” he said.
Moore is the son of Damien and Cynthia Moore.