CHANNAHON – Thirteen-year-old Andy Geldean’s love of maps and global cultures is paying off for him this year.
He is representing Channahon today, Friday, April 9, in the Illinois State Geography Bee, having earned his spot in the prestigious line-up after taking first place in his school’s geography bee and then further qualifying through a test the National Geographic Society administered in January.
The state bee is held at The Field Museum in Chicago. He will compete against 99 other geography enthusiasts. He’s not that nervous, though, he said. The subject is interesting to him.
Andy is an eighth grader this year at Channahon Junior High School.
He’s no stranger to academic competitions. He won grade-level spelling bees in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. He took second place last year in his school’s geography bee and landed first this year.
Geography, he explained, is the study of Earth — culturally, historically, physically, and politically. He’s been interested in the subject for more than six years.
An example of a political geography question, he said, would be, “What is the capital of Iraq?”
A cultural geography question might ask about what language is spoken in a particular country. A historical geography question might ask the former name of, for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire).
Andy’s favorite area of geography is learning about maps and different cultures. He especially likes physical geography, which is learning about mountains, rivers, lakes, and other land forms.
“I climb a lot of mountains,” he said. “I do ‘High Points.’”
The goal of The High Pointers Club, he explained, is to climb the highest points in every state in the country. He and his father have climbed 25 of them already and are planning more.
Andy said he feels confident about the state competition. He’s been studying for it several ways, including going online to the National Geographic Society’s Web site and taking quizzes.
Andy was also honored recently when he was made an Illinois Elementary School Association Scholar Attitude Award Winner.
His principal, Chad Uphoff, nominated him and said he has nominated many students before, but none have received the honor. It is a very prestigious honor, he said.
Andy’s parents are Michael and Nancy Geldean.