National Geographic Championships

Written by | Gifted and Talented

jamie.pngWallace High School Year 12 pupil Jamie had the experience of a lifetime over the summer as he represented the United Kingdom in the National Geographic World Championship, competing against sixteen nations from across the world.

Jamie explained, “There were three people in the UK team – myself, and two other boys from the North of England. We had been chosen to represent the UK due to our schools’ success in the world Wise quiz competition. The level of Geography from some of the other teams was simply outstanding, for example, the Hungarian team went to a specialist geography school during the weeks before San Diego and one girl on the American team who is home-schooled spends six hours studying Geography a day!

The first day of the competition began with an intensive Geography examination, however in the afternoon the seventeen teams from across the world went hiking in the beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve on the coast just North of San Diego.
On the second day all the teams took part in an orienteering event in SeaWorld, before enjoying some free time soaking up the atmosphere in the world class centre.

Jamie commented, “Getting to know other teenagers from across the world was fantastic- especially in the amazing surroundings of California. The third day of the competition involved trips to San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park, a highlight of which was seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls. Unfortunately we didn’t make it into the Finals on the final day. They were hosted by the US gameshow host Alex Trebek and staged in front of a massive audience at SeaWorld.”

Jamie was the first person from Ireland to take part in the National Geographic World Championship in the 14 years it has been running and has been asked to write an article about his experiences for the magazine.

He concluded, “. I travelled a fair bit around America with my family when we were over for the competition and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We loved Los Angeles and San Francisco although I have to say that the climate of San Diego was perfect and we found it very clean and picturesque. I certainly hope to visit it again in the future and the whole experience really helped bring Geography to life. Learning about other cultures was brilliant and I’ve kept in touch with many of the people I met from several continents. I’d like to thank Miss McKee and Mrs Singleton for all their support and I would definitely encourage other teenagers to take part in the competition. The whole experience was unforgettable!”

Last modified: September 23, 2007