A Colonial Elementary School fourth-grader has qualified to compete at the national and international level in the subjects of geography and history as part of the International Academic Competitions network. 

Jamieson Wholey took first place in the Baltimore Regional history and geography bees held on March 26. The wins came as a surprise to Jamieson.

“I thought I would end up in the top 50 percent - I didn’t anticipate I would win,” he said.

The fourth-grader has been interested in geography and history since he was very young. When his mother asked him if he might want to compete in the bees, he said yes. He had to take a qualifying test to enter the competition, but said he didn’t do much to prepare because learning about both topics is something he has always done through reading, looking at maps, and watching videos and documentaries on YouTube. 

“Geography and history are very valuable to learning – geography for navigation and history so you don’t repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said. 

He went into the competitions feeling excited and confident about his skills. Most of his competitors were from the Baltimore area, some from a school club specifically related to geography. The students competed in groups of 10 and used a buzzer to respond to questions. Jamieson said the hardest question in the geography bee had to do with the largest bay in the world, which he found out was not the Hudson Bay, as he would have guessed. He was close - the Hudson Bay is the second-largest and the Bay of Bengal is the largest. 

Jamieson came home with two plaques and medals for his accomplishments. His family is still deciding where he will go next, but he is eligible to attend the national levels of competition in each subject in Orlando this June or to attend the international levels which will be held in different states in July.