Samuel Park, an eighth grader at Marianas Baptist Academy, scored the highest in the Geography Bee written examination administered among Commonwealth students this year and was adjudged the islands’ overall winner.
This year marked Park’s first time to compete in the competition. He was hailed champion in the schoolwide contest after besting 20 other participants last November.
Although proud of his latest achievement, the eighth grader admitted yesterday that winning was unexpected. Park said he spent countless hours studying for the competition.
Park is the son of Mi Hyun Park and Chan Shik Park.
As the CNMI’s overall 2014 Geography Bee winner, Park earned the slot to compete with Pacific region contenders including Guam and American Samoa. Unfortunately, he was not able to do so.
Since November last year, almost all elementary and junior high schools—both public and private—selected their school’s representatives to the written exam competition.
For his teacher-coach Manuel Castro Jr., Park deserves to win the honor and be recognized. He described the student as diligent, hard working, and passionate about geography.
“It’s a blessing to win! He worked hard for this and he has this passion to learn more about the whole world,” said the coach.
MBA principal Ramir Trinidad was more than elated to hear the good news yesterday. He disclosed that Park’s winning at the Geography Bee is the fourth for MBA since 1996.
However, he couldn’t hide his disappointment upon being told that the champion student lost the opportunity to compete in both the regionals and nationals as a result of “miscommunication.”
Saipan Tribune learned that Park was supposed to take the written examination for the regional competition last April 4, but due to what can only be described as miscommunication between parties, Park was not able to do so.
According to Trinidad, Park just lost a $50,000 scholarship opportunity that awaits the national winner.
The regional competition saw the participation of students from the Pacific islands including Guam and American Samoa. Whoever gets the highest score will fly to Washington, D.C. to represent the Pacific Region in the national competition.
Park bested 20 other finalists in the school level competition in November and topped the three rigorous rounds of the competition for fourth to eight graders.