Press-Republican

Education

March 27, 2013

Keeseville teen qualifies for state Geography Bee

KEESEVILLE — Which is in Patagonia — Peru, Bolivia or Argentina?

The Anguilla Cays, part of the Bahamas, lie north of the Nicholas Channel about 50 miles from which island — Cuba, Puerto Rico or Jamaica?

If you know the answers (Argentina and Cuba, respectively), then your geography skills just might be up to the National Geographic Bee. 

Christopher Yeager’s certainly are. 

The 14-year-old is headed to the semifinals in the National Geographic Bee, where he will compete with students from across New York state. He is the only student from the North Country who qualified for the contest.

If the Keeseville teen finishes within the top three spots, he will go on to the national finals at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

The national finals are hosted by Alex Trebek, and first prize includes a $25,000 college scholarship and an all-expenses paid trip to the Galapagos Islands.

SPECIAL DOG

Christopher is supported by his parents, Jay and Karen. And, for the past six years, he has had the aid of his autism dog, Nita. 

Christopher has Asperger syndrome, and Nita’s loyalty has been a great help to him.

Christopher said she knows when he has a bad day and comes right up to him. 

“They understand you — that’s probably why they’re considered man’s best friend.”

“When he gets upset, (Nita is) who he goes to,” Karen said. “She’s been amazing.”

Before he got the affectionate black Labrador retriever, Christopher recalled, he would hide when he saw someone he knew. 

That way, he explained, “I didn’t have to talk.” 

“There’s a funny social-studies reference I can throw in here,” he added. “Calvin Coolidge was really shy and didn’t like to talk.”

PREFERS THE CONCRETE

Christopher is now an honors student, and his love of geography has kept him absorbed in preparing for and competing in the bees.  

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