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What does it prove anyway?

I admit, I am a little resentful of public display of knowledge. (Maybe I am scarred from my debut on DB’s Delight circa 1985). When I first heard of the National Geographic Bee, I wondered what does it prove anyway? Today, I found my answer.

This morning I watched 10 finalists, grades fourth through eighth, compete in a National Geographic Bee. These kids rattled off mountains, rivers, and cities around the globe like they were in their own backyards. And then it hit me. That’s it, these are the kids with a global awareness behind their own backyards. Or, maybe it’s that the world is their backyard. Either way, this awareness isn’t something learned from school alone. This is an integration of their studies, their readings, their families, their interests, and ultimately their views of the world.

Prior to the contest, I asked Emily if she was nervous, she shrugged and said, “I either know it or I don’t.”  I am so happy for her.  Not because she is smart, not because she is the first fifth grader in the school’s history to make it to the championship round.  I am proud that she is a global citizen. Please remind me of this when it takes her far from home, as it surely will.

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