NORTH MANKATO — Geography has always been Kevin Krahmer’s thing.
In kindergarten, he could recite all the state capitals. Now in middle school at Dakota Meadows, he knows the terrain of countries many people haven’t even heard of — including his mom, Pam, who says a few country names are a lot different now than when she was in school.
“Reading through a number of these (questions), I would have no idea,” she said. “... He’s always been kind of a geography nut. That’s always been his thing.”
Kevin proved that recently when he was one of only 100 students statewide to qualify to participate in the state National Geographic Geography Bee. The bee is Friday in St. Cloud.
“I don’t think my odds are that good,” said Kevin, 14. “I went and watched last year, even though I didn’t compete, and those kids know a lot.”
Participating schools of fourth- through eighth-graders tested students and identified the top 10 scorers to participate in the school-level competitions. At Dakota Meadows’ competition, Krahmer took first place, which qualified him to take another written test to earn a place at state.
Last year Kevin also took first, but he didn’t score high enough on the test to go to state, which made him work extra hard this year, Pam said.
“This year I think he was quite nervous. He studied quite a bit,” she said.
Kevin said last year he hadn’t taken a geography class yet, and he thinks this year’s class has helped him.
Kevin’s social studies teacher Joe Broze said Kevin loves geography. He wasn’t surprised to learn Kevin was going to state.
“He’s just a kid that’s always liked maps and exploring the world,” Broze said.
During the school competition, every participant gets two strikes before they’re out. Kevin didn’t get any, despite the difficulty of the questions.
They included: The Danakil Depression, located in part of the Great Rift Valley, is one of the lowest points in which continent? (Africa.) What is the term for the triangular deposit of sediment sometimes found at the mouth of a river? (Delta.)
“I’ve learned about geography doing a lot of things,” Kevin said. “I like to watch a lot of shows and watch movies. Geography is in everything.”
The state winner will receive $100, the “Complete National Geographic on DVD” and a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national finals at National Geographic headquarters May 20-22.
The national winner receives a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society, and an all-expenses paid trip with a parent to the Galapagos Islands.