Q&A interview with GeoBee winner Owen Schafer

Owen Schafer

Owen Schafer

Madeline Schlegel and Tanatswa Chivero, Staff Writers

The Westside Middle School Geography Bee was held in late January. Only to be expected, Owen Schafer won, again.

“How many [wins] is this? Four?” Owen was asked.

“Yeah, four,” he said.

Below is a transcript of an interview between Madeline Schlegel and Schafer.

Question: What motivates you to learn about the world around you?

Answer:  “I’ve just always liked maps. I’ve always been more of a nonfiction person. Some people like fantasy or sci-fi, and, I mean, I’ll read that if you make me, but that’s not the first thing I’ll go to when I want to read something. I’ll usually go for an atlas or something like that.”

Q: When did you start to like stuff like that?

A: “I don’t know when it started to like them. It’s just been as long as I can remember. I’ve just enjoyed looking at maps. And so when the GeoBee started, I was in fourth grade.I tried it out and I liked it.”

Q: How do you feel about winning?

A: “It’s nice.”

Q: That’s really modest of you to say, based on the fact that you’ve won four bees…

A: “I guess.” [Chuckles]

Q: How does the GeoBee change every year?

A: “The questions are different, the people are different. Sometimes it’s more challenging than others. Like the State Bee, which I’ve been to the last three years, it is more challenging, compared to the school one. The school one’s really easy.”

Q: What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?

A: “I’m actually not sure. Stuff like that doesn’t stick with me as much. The individual questions I remember better.”

Q: What’s the hardest category?

A: “I think the most difficult thing for me is the U.S. capitals. At the State Bee, they do application things with climate and foliage and stuff like that. And some of that stuff is kinda hard as well.”

Schafer said he hopes he can continue in his learning and interest about the world and plans to keep geography as a hobby.