Two-time geography bee winner
How many geography questions can you answer?
Posted on 02/11/2020
How many geography questions can you answer?

When he was a small boy, his father brought home maps and hung them on the wall. First it was the United States, and then it was a map of the world. He studied them and learned about faraway places.

That’s how Leanar Gonzales first became interested in geography.

Today, Gonzales is an eighth grader at Aylen Junior High. He is the Geography Bee champion at the school  for two years in a row. Last year he earned the right to go to the state competition, and he is waiting to learn if he qualifies for state again this year.

“My interest in geography stems from my love for history. In history, you can’t find the places if you don’t know the geography,“ says Gonzales.

The GeoBee, sponsored by National Geographic, is “an annual competition designed to inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world.” The state GeoBee qualifiers will be announced on March 2, 2020 and the state GeoBee will be held on March 27, 2020.  The state winner will compete in the national championship in Washington, D.C. in May.

Gonzales says the test to qualify for the state competition is hard. There are 75 questions that cover the United States and the world, including lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. He prepares by studying geography books and the atlas, and he uses the online geography game GeoGuessr. It gives a street view and the player is challenged to identify the location. He looks for clues, such as street names to identify the language, and landmarks and road signs.

Currently, Gonzales is in Honors Social Studies. Next year he will take AP Human Geography. He plans to work in psychology and healthcare in the future.

When asked if he could travel anywhere in the world, where would he choose, he says Switzerland, “because of the amazing mountains, the Alps, and the valleys in the low land. And I like their culture.”

Nancy French
frenchnl@puyallup.k12.wa.us