Wyatt Boyd admits his answer was half a guess.
As he stood at the front of the room in the final round of the Kansas state qualifier for the 2018 National Geographic Bee, held at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, he couldn’t help feeling that there was a hint in the way the question was worded.
What was the name of the island approximately 450 miles away from Antarctica where Olympic Swimmer Lewis Pugh had completed a record-breaking swim in November 2017?
“My first thought was the Falklands,” he said. “But then I thought they said ‘island’ and not ‘islands.’ So I started thinking maybe it was South Georgia Island.”
Boyd was right. And with his correct answer, he earned the right to represent Kansas in the national bee in Washington, D.C. May 20 through 23.
Boyd, a seventh grader at Hocker Grove Middle School, has been obsessed with geography for as long as he can remember. His mother Amy recalls that he would pour over maps and atlases starting in preschool. By kindergarten, he could name all the countries in Africa. Today, his bedroom is plastered with maps.
“There’s no more room on the walls,” Amy said.
His teachers at Hocker Grove thought his expansive knowledge of geography and culture made him a real contender in the state bee. Wyatt, who attended elementary school at Bluejacket-Flint and resides in Shawnee, told his mother the night before the event in Abilene that his teachers thought he might have a shot to win.
“I told him, ‘Oh, sweetie. That’s nice. But I don’t know about that,'” Amy recalled. “He showed me.”