-From the Daily Gleaner
Fourteen-year-old Nich Hume was in class when his social studies teacher burst in the room to announce he was headed to Ottawa to participate in the national finals of the 2018 Canadian Geographic Challenge. Hume’s class gave him a standing ovation while Hume processed the news.
“My mind was kind of blank at that moment. I had a big smile on my face,” he said Thursday.
Hume, a Grade 8 student in Devon Middle School, placed among the top 20 students in Grades 7-10 in Canada after participating in a provincial test earlier this year. He will be the only New Brunswick competitor headed to the national stage.
While there, he will b e tested through a combination of written tests and geographic field work. Top prizes include cash rewards of up to $5,000 and a free trip with Canada’s East Coast Fins and Fiddles voyage – a boat tour around Atlantic Canada. Hume’s goal is first place though.
“I want to say: ‘I won the Canadian Geographic Challenge’. Put that on a resume.”
Hume has loved geography since Grade 6 when he started watching videos on YouTube about the world, culture, demographics and more. It fed his hunger for knowledge.
“It made me want more. If I don’t know anything about the country I want to know more,” he said.
Social studies teacher Sonya Lee Lacelle said she offers the opportunity for her students to take the Canadian Geographic Challenge school-level qualifier test every year. But in all her eight years of teaching, no one has qualified for the provincial test let alone the national competition.
Lacelle says Hume’s geographic knowledge has impressed her and often surpassed her own knowledge. “He could take my job,” she said.
“I’ve never seen a student who’s so passionate and knowledgeable.”
With the competition approaching, Hume said he is preparing by taking online practice tests.
If he wins, Hume said he’ll probably save the prize money for post-secondary education. He said he’s also dreaming of a big reception when he returns to school.
“I want my own assembly. I want a red carpet.”