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PMS geography bee

Philomath eighth-grader Dylan Bell answers a question during a practice round at Friday's geography bee.

BRAD FUQUA, PHILOMATH EXPRESS

The middle school's geography bee came off this morning with Jesse Erickson outlasting Braedon Littrell on a tiebreaker. It's fun to watch the geography bee because you can play along in your head to see how well you know the world.

In my case, I was able to get most of them right, but I did miss a few. Interviewing Jesse afterward, he mentioned how he enjoys history and maps, which reminded me of myself. I was like that back in my school years with an intense interest in maps. I even considered pursuing some sort of degree later in college in cartography.

The world has changed a bit since my days in school. Remember when the Soviet Union broke up and all of those countries were added to the map? I still can't name them all.

Other world events have also changed the map a bit, although not as intense. Czechoslovakia split up to become the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and when the wall came down, East and West Germany joined to once again become Germany. There was also Yugoslavia, a former socialist country, that was split up into Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

I guess I wished we had a geography bee when I was in school. During my junior or senior year, our social studies teacher gave us what I believe was an extra credit assignment in class one day which involved naming all of the countries in the world on a map that he handed out. I remember feeling pretty good about some sort of score like a 97 percent. I doubt very much I could do that today.

Coincidentally, my wife covered the geography bee in 2014 before the Philomath Express existed as a feature for the Corvallis Gazette-Times. I took a look back at her story because I knew she wrote about Mark Dorr's final year running the bee with his pending retirement and I needed to doublecheck when Philomath started offering the event on campus. I also read about Philip Krause beating Joey Howell in what came down to the final question.

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