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April 10, 2008
Lurgio student wins Geography Bee again
|For the second year in a row, Bedford's Milan Sandhu won the state geography bee competition. He will move to nationals in Washington, D.C. on May 21. |
|Carolyn Dube photo|
BEDFORD, New Hampshire (STPNS) -- Ask 13-year-old Milan Sandhu and he could tell you which state bordering the Atlantic Ocean has the highest unemployment rate.
It may seem like an odd thing for a 13-year-old eighth-grader to know, but when you are the two-time state Geography Bee champion, knowing the answer to questions like that is sort of like knowing the capital of Vermont.
South Carolina, for anyone who doesn?t know, has the highest unemployment rate, and the capital of Vermont, of course, is Montpelier.
Milan is now preparing for his second trip to Washington, D.C., for the national competition. Last year he placed in the teens out of 55 contestants.
The competition is scheduled for May 21, so between now and then, Sandhu plans to continue his studying regimen of one to two hours a day. He said that?s about how much he studied for the state competition and all that he really needs.
?It?s not really worth studying much more than that because now, I have a lot more knowledge than I did back then,? Milan said, referring to when he studied for only about a half hour to an hour for the school bee.
Milan, who is also a swimmer and member of the Sunapee alpine ski team, realized he was good at geography in fourth grade when he got started by his teacher, Ms. Hannah. That year he placed second in his school competition but he has won the school bee every year since fifth grade.
And in the way that football runs in the Manning family, geography seems to run in the Sandhu family. Milan?s 11-year-old brother Karam came in fifth overall for the state after winning his school?s geography bee and also passing the written test for the state competition.
?I didn?t even expect him to get on stage,? Milan said. ?But he pulled it off.?
Milan said his 9-year-old sister isn?t of the right age yet for the bees, and it?s up to her if she plans to participate, but he thinks she will.
In order to study for the Geography Bee, Milan said he studies maps and atlases and brushes up on history, weather patterns, land forms and more.
The way to work through the ranks first requires winning a school competition. From there the school winners must take a written test. The top 100 scorers in the state are then invited to a state bee, this year held at Keene State College on Friday, April 4.
At the state bee students are quizzed on their knowledge and eliminated after two wrong answers until 10 contestants are left. Those contestants compete on stage in a similar format until only two are left.
Milan said the last two students are asked the same series of three questions, and they answer on paper. The student who answers the most correctly is crowned the winner.
This year the final questions asked of Milan and his opponent included which religion is predominant in southwest Asia, what country Tuscany is located in and the question that determined the winner: In what country is the city of Da Nang?
Both boys answered the first two questions correctly ? Islam and Italy ? but Milan?s opponent missed the third, Vietnam.
Milan said it was process of elimination that helped him. They were given clues that the city is home to the Cham people and that it?s a small, narrow country in Southeast Asia.
?I used process of elimination, because I knew there were some pretty wide countries in that part of Asia, and I guess Vietnam,? he said.
It?s a combination of studying and his ability to remember things well that make Milan successful. And he gets a lot of help from home. His mom helps him study, his dad throws him some of the more off-the-wall trivia and he and Karam study together, quizzing each other one-on-one.
Milan said he also gets some help from people he meets at the competition. He said he stayed in touch with the winner of last year?s national competition and he?s been in touch with other teens he?s met along the way. They share studying tips and geography trivia and generally help one another out.
Because the top three finishers in nationals can not come back to that competition they make great sources, Milan said.
Cara Procek, a language arts and social studies curriculum administrator at the Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, where Milan is a student, said she?s impressed with him, not only for his incredible achievement but also because he remains calm, cool and collected when faced with a challenge.
?He?s very laid back and level headed,? Procek said.
She said he knows the answers to questions many adults could never begin to guess and his ability to retain the information he studies is impressive.
For Milan, being a part of the bees is fun, and exciting.
?It?s always nice winning,? he said. ?But you also get to meet a lot of nice kids.?
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