Where in the world is Matt Wolf? At the Maryland geography bee

April 06, 2001|By Pepper Ballard | Pepper Ballard,SUN STAFF

East Middle School's Matt Wolf is packed and ready for his second trip to the Maryland State Geography Bee today, and this time the seventh-grader says he'll remember his history, too.

Matt won the East Middle School geography bee in December and qualified for the state bee by passing a test given by the National Geographic Society, the event's sponsor. The state bee begins with a closed preliminary round at 1:20 p.m. at Montgomery College's Germantown campus.

"I'm nervous and excited, kind of both. It's fun though," said Matt, who will compete against the winners - fourth- through eighth-graders - from participating schools across Maryland.

Matt, the son of Mark and Mary Wolf, has won the Westminster school championship three times. He made it to the state bee once before as a fifth-grader.

Then he had only a vague concept of what questions would be asked and discovered that history was more important than he anticipated. Matt said he worries he'll be a little shaky identifying parts of Asia.

"The Middle East and all the stuff that goes on there, all the cities and ethnic groups" might be a problem, Matt said.

Ray Scott, East Middle social studies teacher, said the school has not intensified geography lessons to help Matt for the state bee. He noted Matt "blew all of the contestants away" during the school competition.

"He's a smart kid," he said.

Matt, an honor roll pupil, has been preparing on his own.

"I got these books out of the library and I have an almanac here at home," Matt said. "So I read that and highlight important things. I have books and there's an online program that the National Geographic Society offers I use."

He anticipates intense competition today. He also recognizes that getting to the national competition in Washington on May 22 will be a challenge. The winner of each state contest proceeds to the national competition

"It would be a lot of hard work, but I could do it if I tried."

Matt said his best subjects in school are social studies and science and he hopes to become a doctor.

His skill for geographic trivia could lead elsewhere.

"Actually, I could see what other jobs are out there and see how I could use this [talent] later on," he said.

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