For the first time in 30 years, the West Virginia State Geography Bee returned to the Eastern Panhandle, according to school officials.
Nearly 50 geography-loving fourth to eighth graders competed in the National Geographic GeoBee at Shepherd University’s, Reynolds Hall in Jefferson County on Friday.
Among the students were Joss Poteet, an eighth-grader at Wildwood Middle School. He took home the 2019 Champion title in West Virginia, for the second year in a row now.
“It’s really not all about winning, it’s about the passion,“ said Poteet.
His passion for geography, began at the early age of four, thanks to his grandparents who had a love for traveling the world.
“I probably have 20 atlases at my house and a subscription to the National Geographic Magazine, which I read every month that I get it,“ said Poteet.
Yet among a busy schedule, studying from one to two hours depending on the day, he says he still finds the time.
The state GeoBee in previous years has been held at Concord University, in Mercer County.
Claire Webb is the Social Studies Department Chair at Wildwood Middle School, and also Poteet’s teacher. She acknowledges, having the state competition at Shepherd University, closer to the eastern counties is incredible, for both the school and the local community.
“Many of the students likely would not have been to Jefferson County before, so this is a great opportunity to show what we have to offer up here,“ said Webb.
Poteet will advance to Washington D.C. in May to compete in the Nationals. For other 13-year-olds out there, he has this word of advice: “You gotta work hard. Procrastination is very bad if it’s anything I’ve learned.“