NORMAN — Do you know in which cities the 2009 Dakar Rally began and ended? Or in what country the first successful human-to-human heart transplant took place?
Whittier Middle School student Matthew Armor does.
Armor, who just completed the eighth grade, competed in the 25th annual National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C. He was one of 54 students nationwide and the only student from Oklahoma in the national geography competition, which included students in grades four through eight.
Armor has been an avid fan of geography since he could read a map. His studies also fueled an interest in history.
“I just liked it naturally,” Armor said. “I don't have to use my history book in class. Whenever we were short on one, I let someone else use it. It didn't bother me.”
After placing first in Whittier's geography bee earlier this year, Armor and other local winners took a written test to further assess their geography knowledge.
The top 100 scorers advanced to the state competition, where Armor won first place.
In April, he was recognized in the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives for his victory on the state level.
Those unfamiliar with the bee system might think only physical land forms would be considered “geography,” Armor said, but politics, history and human geography are all included in the questions.
“I like studying the United States a lot, because it has very diverse geography,” Armor said. “My favorite area of history is from the Age of Discovery to the end of World War II, because it's so interesting and complex.”
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