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Anay Patel has been studying for the state geography bee every night since he learned he would be competing.
East County Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011 9 years ago

Nolan student navigates way to Florida Geo Bee

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by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Fourteen-year-old Anay Patel spends nearly two hours every night with his nose in a book — his geography textbook.

The Nolan Middle eighth-grader has spent the past three weeks studying maps, textbooks and library books in preparation for the 2011 Florida Geographic Bee. Patel is one of 100 students across the state competing in the bee, which will be held April 1 at Jacksonville University.

Patel was selected by the National Geographic Society to participate after winning his school-level geography bee earlier this month and then placing in the top 100 on a qualifying test.

“I was a little shocked,” Patel said. “I didn’t expect to win. There was a lot of competition. I lucked out a little bit in terms of the questions that I got — they played to my strengths.”

This is the first year that Nolan has participated in the National Geographic Bee.

“We’re really proud to have Anay representing Nolan at the state level,” geography teacher Jaimi Leiberick said. “It would be (great) if he could make it to the national bee, but we’re proud of him just to be able to go to the state bee.”

Patel, who participated in the school-level bee last year, has been studying for the state geography bee every night since he learned he would be competing. Luckily, geography has always come naturally to Patel.

“I like it, but I find I get it really easily,” Patel said.

Patel has also asked his friends and family for help, but he admits no one has really been able to come up with any good questions, such as, ‘What state does the 1,000 Island Bridge cross into from Canada?’

If Patel were to win the Florida Geographic Bee, he would represent Florida in the national finals May 24-25 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.

And although competing in the national finals would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, right now Patel is focused on having fun and representing Nolan.

“I just want to have fun and try to place in the top 10,” Patel said. “It’s just an opportunity for me to have something to be successful in and place on a college resume and application letter.”

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].

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