Summer Student Spotlight: Jamieson Wholey
Rising Colonial Middle School sixth-grader Jamieson Wholey took home the title of national champ after competing against over 300 other fifth-graders from across the country as part of the International Academic Competitions’ tournament held earlier this summer in Arlington, VA.
Jamieson was the highest scorer on the National Historical Geography Exam, finished fifth in the International Geography Bee, and was named a semifinalist in the National History Bee.
“I felt pretty happy and surprised,” he said of the honors he received.
The International Academic Competitions (IAC) organization provides competitive events for students who excel in the areas of geography, history, and science. Jamieson has taken part in IAC competitions before, in fact last year he took first place in a regional competition held in Baltimore. This year, he also placed first at a regional competition, earning himself a spot in the 2023 U.S. Middle and Elementary School National Championships.
At the Arlington competition, he participated in a written test for the National Historical Geography Exam, where he was named a National Champion. Historical geography is the study of a region or place at a specific time or period in the past. In addition to taking the written exam, Jamieson also participated in two buzzer-style bees, one focusing on geography and one focusing on history.
While the competition felt “intense,” Jamieson said he didn’t have much anxiety leading up to the competitions because he regularly studies history and maps for fun on his own time. In addition, he felt a kinship with his fellow competitors, whom he described as “really nice.”
“Everyone there was really impressive - to even be there was really impressive,” he said.
Jamieson became “obsessed” with maps when he was just a baby, said mother Nicole Rosenblum. A foam map of the world captured his interest when he was just six months old, and that interest “never went away.” As he got older, Ms. Rosenblum began researching organizations and clubs that offered outlets to students like Jamieson who share a love for geography and history. She landed on the IAC, and while it doesn’t have a strong presence in Pennsylvania yet, she is hoping that it grows and that Jamieson’s achievements might inspire more of an interest here at home.
While at the competition, Ms. Rosenblum said she was surprised by the high-level questions that were asked of the students. Knowing that Jamieson can be hard on himself when he gets questions wrong, she felt anxious as he entered each round. Despite the challenging content matter, Jamieson ended the competition with an armful of plaques and trophies.
“I was amazed to see the level of sophistication required,” she said. “I’m just incredibly proud (of him).”