Archive for Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lawrence middle school student Stefan Petrovic finishes in top three at National Geographic Bee

May 25, 2011, 11:14 a.m. Updated May 25, 2011, 5:33 p.m.

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Stefan Petrovic, 13, finished third in the 2011 National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

Stefan Petrovic, 13, finished third in the 2011 National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

Stefan Petrovic sat there all calm, even relaxed, as Hillary Clinton asked a question about a faraway land, a place she’d visited as the country’s top diplomat — and from a perspective the eighth-grader-to-be at South Middle School would someday like to share.

The 13-year-old kid, who plans to follow Clinton’s lead and someday serve as U.S. secretary of state, didn’t blink.

“I got that one right — something about South Korea,” Petrovic said Wednesday, while grabbing lunch at the National Geographic Society in Washington.

It wasn’t his only proper response, either.

Petrovic managed to answer enough questions about physical geography and culture and history and economics — you know, geography — to take third place in the National Geographic Bee, a competition that started months ago with more than 5 million students vying for a shot at a $25,000 college scholarship.

Petrovic found himself plenty content with his third-place finish, one step up from fourth place a year ago and enough to secure a $10,000 college scholarship. He’d outlasted seven of the other 10 finalists Wednesday, before bowing out by missing two questions: one about an archipelago in Panama, and another regarding a province of Brazil.

“The questions I got wrong, I simply didn’t know. I’m not going to sweat it,” he said by phone from the lunch line. “I’m just going to go back to the hotel and figure it out. … I use Google a lot.”

Oh, yes, Google: Petrovic sported a Google T-shirt during Tuesday’s preliminary rounds, a shout-out to none other than Brian McClendon, vice president for Google Earth and Maps. McClendon, of course, grew up in Lawrence and graduated from Lawrence High School and Kansas University before moving on to become a leader in the Information Age.

McClendon also happened to provide opening remarks to Wednesday’s finals, which would be moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and include Clinton’s videotaped questions.

The Google executive enjoyed seeing a future Chesty Lion onstage, with a world of opportunities ahead.

“I think Lawrence is a great place to live, and has great schools, and Stefan is a great example of that,” McClendon said. “He is incredibly smart, and he is very, very focused on what he wants to do. He wants to join the State Department and make a career.”

He may be on to something. Consider the question Clinton posed, and Petrovic answered.

“At a meeting in the capital city northwest of Busan, I discussed peace and security issues with this country’s northern neighbor,” Clinton said. “Give the number and name of the capital city northwest of Busan.”

Petrovic, looking up at a map on a screen with numbers assigned to corresponding locations, correctly answered, “Six, Seoul.”

Afterward, in the lunch line, Petrovic was proud to have aced that part of the test.

“I got that one right,” he said, then went on to eat.

Comments

overthemoon 4 years, 2 months ago

I love this kid! I heard him on Steve Kraske's show last year and he was extraordinarily thoughtful and articulate. I foresee a great future for him...and hope other parents and their kids see that it is possible for the young student to perform at a very high level without giving up their childhood.

copycat 4 years, 2 months ago

Way to go , Stefan! You are truly awesome.

jmw 4 years, 2 months ago

Great job, Stefan! You went to the regional spelling bee with my son Isaac. We've been cheering for you! Congratulations!

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 2 months ago

Kudos, kudos, kudos!

This kid is fantastic,

Bob Forer 4 years, 2 months ago

“The questions I got wrong, I simply didn’t know. I’m not going to sweat it,” he said by phone from the lunch line. “I’m just going to go back to the hotel and figure it out.

Sounds like a brilliant, yet very down-to-earth kid. We could use a few more like him.

baby_girl31 4 years, 2 months ago

Awww!! Congrats, Stefan!! Your dad I know is proud of you!! Great teacher at JCCC that I had this year. :)

nsikic 3 years, 2 months ago

Eh, ko li mu je dedo?! Nego da ce u Pentagon :))))))

Proud of you! <3

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