Each year, our scholars participate in a center-wide Geography Challenge, or Geo Challenge. Geo Challenge is an academic competition in which scholars answer a variety of questions about Geography in a Jeopardy-style format. This year Taylor R., an 8th grader at Henderson Achievement Center was the winner. Taylor competed in Geo Challenge as a 7th grader, but her nerves got the best of her, and she didn’t make it past the first round. After that experience, she knew it wasn’t just geography she needed to work on, it was overcoming her fear of being on stage.
Tell me about yourself.
Taylor: I like school, reading, being goofy, and drawing. My favorite subject is English because I like reading and writing. I like to read historical fiction, right now I am reading Copper Sun.
What are you looking forward to in Higher Achievement this year?
Taylor: I really like the electives like swimming, edible school yard, and RVA Art. I am thinking about participating in Love Out Loud this year. I really like my mentor Ms. Evelyn, she is really engaging, and can also be goofy. I have had her as a mentor since I started Higher Achievement in the 5th grade.
What was your previous experience with the Geo Challenge?
Taylor: Last year was my first year participating in Geo Challenge, I was too nervous to do it the years before. I was nervous to compete against the older kids. Now – looking back – I wish I had tried it in the 5th and 6th grade.
What did you differently this time to prepare?
Taylor: There is study material that is passed out, I used it. It gives you samples of what might be asked. I studied with my friends, Ms. Jeanine, and my sister. I even looked at some of my old notes from school. I was also confident that I could win this year. The difference between this year and last year was that I spoke up. I didn’t let my emotions get the best of me. I feel like I have matured. Last year, I was afraid of what people would say if I gave the wrong answer. This year, I told myself I could win if I just tried.
I was very confident the day of, but when the time came I was nervous.
Describe a time when you have been an example and showed leadership at Higher Achievement.
Taylor: This year, I helped recruit people to sign up for Geo Challenge, because I knew I was going to do it. I gave my friends a pep talk to encourage them to try it. I told them to try their best, and that they wouldn’t regret it.
What was your favorite moment during Geo Challenge?
Taylor: When they called my name and said I won. I felt proud and now I can go tell my history teacher I won.
Of all the things you have learned during the Geo Challenge, what do you think will be the most useful when you are an adult?
Taylor: Being confident in yourself because if you doubt yourself you will never know what you can do. If you don’t push yourself no one will know what you can do.
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