Montesano student reaches state geography competition

  • Tue Mar 12th, 2019 1:30am
  • News

Which country does not include part of the Kalahari Desert: Namibia, Botswana or Eritrea?

Stumped?

You might ask James Huff, sixth-grader at Simpson Elementary School in Montesano.

James is one of 100 Washington fifth- or sixth-graders who qualified for the 2019 state National Geographic GeoBee competition this month at Highline College in Des Moines.

“I read a ton of geography and history books,” James said. “I read the ‘Don’t Know Much About’ series, like ‘Don’t Know Much About Geography’ and ‘Don’t Know Much About History.’ ”

Simpson Principal Chris Cady said he believes James is the only student west of Olympia to qualify for the competition.

James’ mother, Jessica Huff, who teaches fifth grade at Simpson, said she and a few of her co-workers could not remember the last time a Simpson student qualified for the state event.

“He reads a ton of National Geographic,” Jessica Huff said. “My parents kept them. And he has a subscription. He reads all the way through them, like all of it.”

James’ teacher is Kyne Jensen. He also gets help from high-capacity teacher Julie Aldrich, geography and history teacher Jennifer Irving, and Jamie Dierick in math.

But reading geography text books isn’t the only thing he enjoys.

“I like to play my video games, and I really like swimming,” he said with a smile that showed teeth newly freed from the scourge of braces. “I also love to play with Legos.”

But geography and history are his favorite subjects. And he’s looking forward to the competition March 29.

“I’m looking forward to going there and seeing if I can win. I hope I get in at least the Top 10,” he said.

By the way, the answer to the question above is Eritrea.