Pinewood student places fifth at National Geographic Bee

  • Friday, May 30, 2014

Monica Kreber/Journal Scene Krish Patel points out Mumbai, India — where he was born — on the giant world map that is mounted on the wall of his home.

Krish Patel has always had a love for geography, and that love recently earned him fifth place in the 26th annual National Geographic Bee.

Krish, a 14-year-old rising ninth-grader at Pinewood Prep, was champion of the school geography bee in December. In April he went on to win the state title – his fourth consecutive year to do so.

As a winner he received $100, an atlas and a temperature clock – just bonuses to the all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in nationals.

On May 19 Krish beat the preliminary round, placing in the top 10 (out of 54 state-level winners who took part in the preliminaries). On May 21 he went on to the finals – a “game show-like” competition that eliminated competitors after every three rounds. Krish was eliminated by round seven.

However, the Pinewood student came home a champion. He won $500 dollars and got to go on a sightseeing tour of D.C. along with the other contestants – and he knows he made his school proud.

“My friends were really supportive,” he said. “They were always encouraging and quizzing me.”

Krish said the state-level geography bee was a little more challenging than the school bee, but “nationals was tough.” To prepare for the competition Krish would park himself in front of the giant map hanging on a wall in his house, pick an interesting-sounding place and look it up online to learn more.

“I just find it’s very cool how different places and people can connect,” he said. “I find it really interesting. I just really like maps, too.”

Krish stays busy at Pinewood, where he plays soccer and swims – and also participates in a club swim team in Charleston, representing Ashborough. He hopes to one day enter the medical field and aspires to study abroad in college.

Now that he is a rising ninth grader, Krish is not eligible for the National Geographic Bee but has looked into other possibilities. Every two years the National Geographic Bee officials pick three people out of those placed fourth through 10th to go on to the World Bee. In 2015 the World Bee is going to be in Stockholm, Sweden.

“They say they pick the names out of a hat but I don’t know,” Krish said. “It’s very secretive.”

He said he would not mind competing with a team of friends in a different program.

“I have a lot of supportive friends who would definitely come along,” he said.

At school Krish received a lot of motivation from his teachers. Pinewood’s Middle School Headmaster Angie Ringley accompanied him to Washington, D.C. to cheer him on.

Krish feels he did well in the competition. “I’m pretty happy with fifth,” he said.

Krish was also joined by his parents Rakesh and Eliza Patel, who have come to all his geography bee competitions.

“He gave his 100 percent,” Rakesh Patel said. “He did very good.”

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