Mitchell Townsend

Archived Story

Buchanan boy bucks odds

Published 7:10pm Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BUCHANAN — It doesn’t happen often at Buchanan Middle School.

In fact, it hasn’t happened in at least 10 years. Maybe longer, according to one school official.

Seventh-grader Mitchell Townsend is bucking the trend. He’s headed to the state GeoBee, which tests the knowledge of Michigan students on all things geography.

National geography. World geography. It is all on the table when the competition kicks off March 30 at Western Michigan University.

“I’m just looking forward to showing what I know and representing my school,” Townsend said.

Townsend’s social studies teacher, Jim Brohman, said a Buchanan student hasn’t qualified for the state competition in the 10 years he’s been there.

Townsend qualified by defeating his fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade schoolmates in a school wide competition in January. He then took and passed a written test submitted by GeoBee sponsor National Geographic.

“Mitchell is a little bit quiet, but he’s sharp as a tack and very competitive,” Brohman said.

The state competition can feature as many as 100 participants. The winner gets $100 and a trip to Washington, D.C., May 22-24 to compete against other state champions. The winner of the National GeoBee receives a $25,000 scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Townsend plans to hit the books in preparation.

“I hope I can win,” he said.

The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject and increase public awareness about geography.

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