Langley Middle School student heads to state geography bee

Carli Newman

This Langley Middle School geography bee winner is heading to the state National Geographic Bee competition for the second year in a row?

If you answered with “Who is Carli Newman?” television Jeopardy sensation Alex Trebek would surely give a nod.

Armed with an atlas, an iPad app and help from her mom, seventh-grade student Carli is preparing to take on the state’s best minds Friday, April 4 at Pacific Lutheran University. This is the second year Carli, 13, has attended the state competition — she represented Langley Middle School in 2013 as a sixth grader.

“I’m nervous, but excited this year,” she said.

To prepare for the bee, she has been studying a little each day.

“It’s fun to get the high score,” she said of studying with the National Geography Bee application on her iPad. “Some questions are easy, some are hard.”

Earlier in the year, students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades participated in the preliminary competition during social studies class.

In late January, 16 finalists from each grade squared off for the seat to state. Carli came in first with eighth-grade student Sean Miles as the runner-up.

Social studies teacher Jack Terhar organized the geography bee at the school and said it’s hard to predict the outcomes going into the competition because the questions are so varied.

“One student could get a question about geography in Missouri, the next could be Idaho or even Washington,” he said.

Terhar has taught Carli since the beginning of this year and thinks she has a few good strengths to help her in the competition.

“She does a lot of geography-type stuff on her own,” he said. “And the fact that she’s quite smart [helps].”

“My expectation is that she will definitely represent Langley Middle School well. That’s what she does,” he said.

Leading up to the competition, Carli said she is focusing on current events, something she struggled with last year.

Carli enjoys learning about geography and wants to travel more. She hopes to visit other countries including Germany, where her family is from. So far, she’s been to 12 states and Canada.

Carli said it was meaningful being one of the few girls in the competition last year. Of the 100 students who participated in 2013, all but 11 were boys, she said.

“I’m just proud I’m a girl doing this,” she added.