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Geo bee’s three-time queen

Robinson finds her way to state meet once more.

Some know where to find the best latte in town. Woodward eighth grader Karen Robinson knows where to find Turin and the Po River. (Answer: Italy.)

“Geography is something I enjoy,” Robinson said. “My grandfather’s a ham operator and I would sometimes listen in on conversations. If I didn’t know a place (of another operator), I’d look it up and study the area around that.”

Robinson has won the school geography bee and advanced to the state Geographic Bee for three years in a row. On April 2, she’ll attend the state competition at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

“We’re all very proud of her,” said Robinson’s mother, Lee Robinson.

As a sixth-grader at Sakai Intermediate School, she tied for 13th at state and last year tied for 14th.

Last year’s 14th-place finish was disappointing for Robinson, who scored 6 out of 8 after misunderstanding one of the questions.

As this is the last year she is eligible, Robinson’s goal is to score in the top 10 and go on to nationals.

To make the top 10, a competitor needs to correctly answer at least seven out of eight questions; in some years, it requires a perfect score to advance.

Questions in the bee, organized by National Geographic, do not just ask for names of capital cities but can include culture, current events, history, obscure geographic formations, map-reading skills and even meteorology.

“The kids are so smart that capitals are too easy,” said Lee Robinson. “Last year at state they had a weather-related question. No one had thought they would go to meteorology.”

At home, Robinson’s parents and sister quiz her, looking at a globe, but to prepare, Robinson says she bones up on areas in the news like Iraq and reads National Geographic. “Sometimes if I’m looking something up, I will keep looking,” she said.

Even before she heads to the state bee, Robinson has already reached one of her goals: she scored 100 out of 105 points on the preliminary written test that the whole school takes – passing the score of her World History Teacher at Woodward.

“This year I was determined to beat her,” Robinson said.

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