Manchester student maps her way to state

Kaitlyn Wright, a sixth-grade student at Manchester Elementary School, competed in the state Geography Bee last week for the second consecutive year. - Courtesy Photo
Kaitlyn Wright, a sixth-grade student at Manchester Elementary School, competed in the state Geography Bee last week for the second consecutive year.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

TACOMA — Studying is strategic.

That is how Kaitlyn Wright, a sixth-grade student at Manchester Elementary who advanced to last week’s state Geography Bee at Pacific Lutheran University, explained her success with the subject.

Wright, who placed around the middle of the 100 participants, does not just spend her time spinning a globe in the library and seeking out locations around the world, or reviewing Atlases or road maps. After all, to compete for an opportunity to advance to nationals, Wright knows her research must be must more broad than that.

“I really love to learn and I’ll read whatever I can get my hands on,” she said, adding that she also studies the nation and world section of the newspaper and listens to news radio.

According to Ann Giantvalley, who spearheaded the Geography Bee more than 20 years ago at Manchester, Wright qualified for state by first winning a seven-round classroom competition, which is open to students in fourth through sixth grades. Those winners then advanced to a school-wide competition, which took place in January. After Wright won that, she had to take a test that consisted of 75 questions to qualify for state.

“For Kaitlyn to go to the state level two times is really amazing,” Giantvalley said. “She is a bright girl with a love of geography and a passion for learning.”

Wright’s quest for knowledge has increased her desire to travel. She wants to explore and was able to narrow down her three top destinations: India, Germany and Disney World. Wright said India appeals to her because it has “a lot of culture,” while she also is curious about her German heritage. As for Disney World, she is excited to mix in some entertainment. Wright visited Disneyland when she was younger and wants to see how the two compare.

But Wright hopes her next trip is Washington, D.C., which has hosted the event each year since it began in 1989 at the National Geographic Society headquarters. Five students from Washington state have won the National Geographic Bee. The winner receives a $50,000 college scholarship.

“I’m hoping to do better next year,” Wright said. “If I can’t get to nationals next year, I want to get there the year after.”



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