Eight grade student Cristian Contreras excels at geography. In fact the Thomas Jefferson Middle School 8th grader recently qualified to take part in the Illinois geography bee, and has a chance to represent the state at the National Geographic Bee later this spring.
Contreras is one of 100 5th-8th graders across the state to qualify for the Illinois Geography Bee. He will compete against his peers on April 1 at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. The Jefferson student qualified for the Illinois Bee by winning the school-wide competition, and then scoring in the top 100 of a statewide test. He is one of just a dozen Lake County students to advance to the state level.
The Geography Bee tests students’ knowledge in a variety of global topics, including economics, physical features, political boundaries, and even historical geography.
“From the time Cristian started 6th grade he’s had very good geographic knowledge,” said Brendan Duffy, Jefferson social studies teacher and organizer of the geography bee at the school.
If successful on April 1, Contreras will go on to represent Illinois in the nationally-televised National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C. in May.