Caden Alexander, an eighth-grade student at Hannah Beardsley Middle School in Crystal Lake, will be competing in the 2019 Illinois National Geographic State Geography Bee Competition.
After winning his class and school geography bees, Caden submitted a qualifying test to the National Geographic Society. He was among the top 100 highest-scoring students in Illinois, qualifying him to advance to the state competition.
As a sixth grader, Caden won his class geography bee and took second place in the school competition. Last year, he won his class spelling bee but didn’t make it to the school geography bee. This year, as an eighth-grader, he said he was out to win but didn’t think he’d make it to state. He claims he doesn’t intentionally study geography but reads a lot and watches YouTube videos that inadvertently teach him about it.
“I’m good at retaining information once I’ve learned it,” Caden said. “If you don’t stress about it, you’re calmer and able to think better. It works for me.”
Caden participates in Scholastic Bowl, band and Science Olympiad. Although he enjoys geography, he said science and engineering are his real passion. He will be a freshman at Crystal Lake Central High School next year and hopes to pursue classes in engineering.
The state geography bee will be March 29 at Heartland Community College in Normal. State champions will receive a medal, $1,000 and a trip to the national championship from May 19 to 22 in Washington, D.C.