WP: This past year you have placed so highly in not just one, but in two national competitions! Can you please tell us more about those competitions, how you did, and what you liked and learned most about your experiences?
KP: The first competition this year was the 2017 International Geography Bee United States National Championship, held in Chicago, IL. I placed 5th overall in the country. The top 15 students from the competition qualify to compete against students from many other countries at the 1st International Geography Bee World Championship to be held in Berlin, Germany in July 2018. This competition incorporates historical based facts into their geography questions using a buzzer system to answer questions making this competition very exciting. To be part of Team USA next year, at the international championships in Germany, has to be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life so far.
The second competition, I qualified for was the 2017 US National Geography Championship held by the North-South Foundation held in Houston. I placed 2nd overall in the nation and gained more confidence as this was the most difficult competition. Only the top 100 ranked students nationally were invited to compete. I learned that the hard work I put in everyday had paid off with obtaining better results for each competition I take part of.
Both competitions made me more confident, but at the same time both were humbling experiences as I realized that there is still so much knowledge I have to incorporate into my brain bank.
WP: We hear that you have done something with Johns Hopkins University - can you tell us more about that?
KP: Last year in Fifth Grade, I took the PSAT and did very very well. My mom passed on my scores to Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Given my school grades and PSAT scores I was selected to be recognized for my achievement. Johns Hopkins held an award ceremony this past summer in June at Columbia University in New York. At the ceremony, I was presented with a certificate and a pin for excellence on the PSAT. This was such an exciting event. Being able to visit the campus of such a prestigious University was unforgettable.
WP: How do you think your learning and overall school life here at Windermere Prep has helped you to become even more successful?
KP: Windermere Prep has given me the opportunity of being exposed to an integrated learning system where combining ones love for math, science, technology and arts is possible. The advanced math classes at Windermere Prep have continued to keep me challenged and eager to learn more. As I continue in Middle School, I look forward to learning more about different civilizations, cultures, and history. These three subjects will definitely help me with all of my geography material.
I have to be honest, Geography has been my own passion. At the age of 3, I was given a large Kids World Atlas book. I used to sit and look through those pages every day. By the time I was 4, I knew every state and capital of the USA. By the time I was 7 I knew the capital of every country in the world (256 countries). From there my knowledge just exploded. It was on my own initiative that I wanted to learn about the world, my parents didn’t even know I had this much knowledge until I won the Windermere Prep Middle School Geography Bee in Fourth Grade. From there my story continues….
WP: What are you looking forward to most about this school year?
KP: Middle School will be the beginning of a whole new chapter for me. I look forward to doing fun projects, learning new things, making new friends, and having more freedom. There is a new sense of independence that comes as you become part of the Middle School campus. Of course with more freedom and independence comes more responsibility. I am hoping I make the correct decisions and make my parents proud.
WP: What are your future goals as a young student both on and off campus?
KP: My future goal is to be the State Champion for Florida and represent Florida at the 2018 National Scripps Geography Bee.
This past summer I also participated in the DUKE Talent Search Program and spent a week studying International Government and Politics at Eckerd College. I had to live in a dorm for a week and had the opportunity to experience the true college life at the age of 11. I plan to join another program through Duke in the summer of 2018.
This is the first year of me taking a theater production class and it has been a great experience for me. Acting and producing I have also been teaching myself Algebra and hope to learn all of Algebra I and II by the end of Sixth Grade.
My ultimate goals are to get straight A’s and win the National Geographic Bee.
WP: Anything else you would like to share?
KP: My passion for geography, math, and science are a big part of my personality, but my love for sports makes me complete. I love all sports but watching football and playing baseball are two of favorite sports. I have been playing baseball for 4 years (Windermere Little League) and known as the ‘golden glove ‘ of third base. It amazes me how much of math and science I can apply to the game of baseball.
I would also like to say thank you to my parents, especially my mom, who supports all my interests and makes sure that I am in the right direction towards my goals. I would also like to thank my teachers and everyone that has helped me on this journey through school so far.