Fifth-grader Joaquin Rose says he's competitive, likes studying and loves learning about the world. So the National Geographic Geography Bee - or GeoBee to its fans …
Fifth-grader Joaquin Rose says he's competitive, likes studying and loves learning about the world. So the National Geographic Geography Bee - or GeoBee to its fans - seemed a natural fit for the self-assured 11-year-old Taos Charter School student.
"I decided to study for it and realized I was good at it," he said.
Quite good, in fact. Joaquin was the only fifth-grader to make it into the top 10 of the contestants at the state contest of the National Geographic GeoBee. A total of 50 students competed for the top spot. The competition is limited to fifth- thru eighth-graders. Joaquin tied for sixth place.
School GeoBees were held among fourth through eighth graders throughout the state. Joaquin won his school competition this year, the second time he's competed. School champs then take an online qualifying test through the National Geographic Society which invites up to 100 top-scoring students from each state to compete in their statewide GeoBees.
This year's state champions received $1,000 in cash and a trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national GeoBee. The national champ wins a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Albuquerque Academy's Lakshay Sood won the New Mexico championship for the fourth year in a row; as an eighth-grader, this is his last chance at nationals.
Joaquin said he has a memory for names and places. He can see them, like visualizing a map in his head. The walls of his bedroom are plastered with maps.
"He watches a lot of documentaries, nature programs, adventure traveling. That's driven a lot of the interest," said his dad, Brandon Rose. "He has a very visual memory."
He thinks the winning question for this year's state champ was: "Where were the Beatles from?"
Joaquin said he really liked Safari Brothers series about two brothers running a safari company in Botswana. "If I could go anywhere it would be to the Okavango Delta in Botswana," because of the wildlife, he said.
He also wants to go to Switzerland and to England "for soccer," said the soccer player.
When he graduates high school, he plans to go to Oxford and study wildlife biology or maybe conservation. "I want to protect wildlife species for the future," Joaquin said.
But first, he plans to be the first kid from Taos to win the state National Geographic GeoBee. He has three more years to do it.
"My goal is to make it to nationals," he said.
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