MOBERLY - Geography whizzes from across Missouri competed in the 30th annual state-level competition of the National Geographic Bee held today at Moberly Area Community College.
Jackson Cooper, a 7th grader from Christ the King School in University City, will move forward to represent Missouri at the national competition in Washington, D.C. this May.
Cooper said he always had a knack for looking at maps and geography is his "favorite subject." But winning the state competition was a surprise.
"Well, I didn't really expect to win at all," he said. "It'll be exciting to go to D.C. to try to win the whole thing."
Tim Hill, the coordinator of the Missouri Geographic Bee said it's "an impressive achievement" for all 101 students who competed in the state competition.
"The geography questions cover a wide range of material. Cultural geography, economic geography, political, maps, current events, so it’s not really a competition the students can cram for because they have to have a wide range of geographic knowledge,” Hill said.
He said geographic understanding is important for young students in order to better understand the world around them.
"Geography is a discipline and a perspective, it helps people understand the world better, it helps people understand their neighborhood better," he said. "It helps us solve the world’s problems and problems right in our local communities."
In addition to an all-expenses paid trip to the nation's capital, Cooper received a $200 dollar cash prize and the National Geographic Visual Atlas of the World.