After being gone for about five years, Boeckman Middle School eighth-grader Anja Pastian, made a triumphant return to Minnesota as winner of the school’s geography bee Feb. 10.
It started off pretty simply. Her geography teacher held a class-level bee, and Pastian ended up doing “really good.”
She went on to the school-level bee to do even better winning the competition and then earning a spot as a National Geographic State Bee semifinalist in the National Geographic Society competition, which is in its 29th year.
As a school champion, she took a qualifying test, which was submitted to the National Geographic Society and qualified for the state bee on March 31.
Pastian said she likes that geography allows her to learn more about our world, and other countries and cultures.
She speaks enthusiastically about her interest in geography, but when asked about her future dreams, she is more reserved.
“Well, this might sound silly, but I really want to become a famous singer and actor,” she said.
Pastian hasn’t had much time in her schedule to be involved in music or drama since she took an Advanced Language Arts class.
She said she enjoys evaluating stories, but poetry doesn’t speak to her as much.
Pastian looks forward to making new friends and having more theater opportunities in high school.
She compared pursuing dreams to a road trip. Even if it seems impossible that you’re ever going to get to where you want to go, keep sticking to it.
She also said that once you do get to where you want to be, keep pushing further.
In the school bee, Dylan Mingo placed second, and Lauren VanHorn was third.
Each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society.
The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography.
Schools with students in grades 4 through 8 are eligible.
Contact Maren Bauer at [email protected]