Wicks taking on state with mastery of world geography

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By Cindy Simpson

Sam Wicks knows his way around a map.

The Cherokee Middle School seventh-grader is a semi-finalist eligible to compete in the 2014 Tennessee State Geographic Bee on April 4.

It is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now its 26th year.

“I just hope I know some of the stuff,” Sam said.

He said he works hard studying geography and enjoys it.

“I just thought it was interesting,” he said.

His parents couldn’t be more proud, if a little surprised.

“We didn’t even know he was taking place in a geography bee — and then the next thing I knew he said he won it for the whole school,” said dad Jeff Wicks.

“And then we were very surprised to get the letter saying he was in the top 100 in the state.”

Sam said he took a written test to qualify to be in the competition.

“The one I took to get in the top 100, it was really hard,” he remembered.

He’d like to win. The state winner receives $100, the “Complete National Geographic on DVD” and a trip to Washington D.C., representing Tennessee in the National Geographic Bee finals at National Geographic Society headquarters in May 19-21.

The national winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the Society.

The student will also travel, expenses paid, with his family to the Galápagos Islands to experience geography firsthand with up-close encounters with the island’s wildlife and landscapes.