Saxony question sends area student to national geography bee

Thursday, April 15, 2010
Joshua Vogel, a student at Trinity Lutheran School in Cape Girardeau, will advance to the national geography bee after winning the state competition. (Fred Lynch)

Even Joshua Vogel will admit he lucked out on the question that sent him to a national geography bee competition.

"It was kind of a gimme question because we're Lutheran," said Vogel, a seventh-grade student at Trinity Lutheran School.

Vogel, 13, competed against more than 100 students Friday at Moberly Community College in a statewide competition to determine Missouri's representative to the 22nd annual National Geographic Bee. The final question: The state of Saxony is in what country?

"He guessed France," Vogel said, referring to the other finalist. The two were locked in a tie-breaker toward the end of the competition.

With an older brother at Saxony Lutheran High School and the family's German heritage, the answer came easily, said his mother, Magdalene Vogel.

"His brother goes to Saxony High School, so he knows the history behind the name," she said.

Geography, she said, has always been an interest for him. Even when he was young, she said, her son enjoyed maps, atlases and geography puzzles.

"That's just the kind of kid he is," she said. "He loves to learn about new things and places."

After winning the local competition in March and passing a written test, Vogel qualified for the state competition. He will now head to Washington, D.C., to compete against 52 other fourth-through-eighth-grade students May 25 and 26. The national champion will win a $25,000 college scholarship.

Joshua Vogel said he has no plans to cram or study for the national contest.

"I'm just going to do my best," he said.

He said he enjoys studying geography and it's his favorite subject because "it's just cool."

"Earth is our home," he said. "It's kind of good to know where you live."

His geography teacher, Melanie Martens, said he is naturally eager to learn, which works in his favor.

"I think Joshua remembers everything he's ever heard or read," she said.


Pertinent address:

55 N. Pacific St. Cape Girardeau, MO

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