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Middle school student wins National Geographic Society Geography Bee
As seventh-grader Kyle Haswell describes it, he was in "shock and awe" after he found out he had won in the local National Geographic Society Geographic Bee.
   The final question was what Central American country borders Colombia. The country is Panama.
   Haswell, who attends Crook County Middle School, competed against other Prineville middle school students in January.
   The seventh-grader commented on how tough the competition was in January at the CCMS bee.
   "It was in between," he said. "On one question, it took out like half the people. I think it was what is the smallest province in Canada. Most people said Nova Scotia and only a few said Prince Edward Island."
   Haswell has been notified by the National Geographic Society that he is one of the semifinalists to compete in the 2007 Oregon Geographic Bee, which is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase.
   Bees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout Oregon to determine each school's Geographic Bee winner. School-level winners then took a qualifying test, which they then submitted to the society. In each of the 50 states and territories, the society invited the students, including Haswell, with the top 100 scores to compete at the state level.
   The Oregon Geographic Bee will be held at Western Oregon University on Friday, March 30.
   Haswell practiced with his mother, Debbie Worthington, for about two weeks to get ready for the CCMS competition.
   "At school, I was looking at our social studies book a lot more often - a lot more," he said.
   Worthington also said they visited the National Geographic Bee Web site to further study.
   "I'm just very proud of him," she said, listening quietly as Haswell described how he prepared for the bee. "I know that this is something he enjoys doing and is something he can excel in, so yeah, I'm very proud of him."
   If he wins at the state level, he will receive $100 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete on the national level for a $25,000 college scholarship. If he receives the $100, he's unsure how he will use the money.
   Haswell is also uncertain about how tough the Oregon challengers will be.
   "I think they're like in the middle because I'm pretty good at geography and stuff, but I'm not sure how good everybody else will be," the seventh-grader said.
   The Oregon winner competes in the national finals at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., on May 22-23.
   He thanked his social studies teachers, Susan Simmons and Diana Castro, "because they've really helped me along the way."