South Junior High seventh-grader Stefan Petrovic took the role of defending his title of Kansas’ National Geographic Bee champion very seriously.
“He spent the whole last month studying seven and eight hours a day,” said Stefan’s proud father, Uros. And the hard work paid off, as Stefan, 13, successfully defended his crown Friday at the 2011 competition in Abilene.
“I’m still in denial,” said Stefan as he soaked up his big win Sunday afternoon.
This year, Stefan said he dealt with the pressure by utilizing some relaxation techniques taught to him by his mom, Zina.
“I was freaking out,” said Stefan of the lead-up to the big event.
Stefan says he first discovered his love of geography during frequent trips to Europe with his parents, who are natives of the former Yugoslavia. The family will travel to Washington, D.C., May 23 to 26, where Stefan will compete in the National Geographic Bee. Last year, Stefan finished fourth in the national competition.
On the line is a $25,000 college scholarship for the winner.
Even though this will be his second year at the national competition, Stefan wasn’t ready to make any predictions.
“I don’t want to speculate,” he said. But he plans on spending the next couple of months preparing.
“I hope to put in more work this year,” he said.