Kadin Hill will compete at the state geography bee on April 5 at St. Cloud State University.
Kadin Hill will compete at the state geography bee on April 5 at St. Cloud State University.
Kadin Hill knows his Alaska.

He's got more than islands of knowledge and can state the Aleutians.

"My winning question was 'What is the name of the set of islands that juts out from Alaska?'" said the Chatfield High School (CHS) eighth grader, son of Craig and Karla Hill, who will advance to the state geography bee at St. Cloud State University on April 5. He not only won the CHS geography bee, but also took a test on Jan. 7 to qualify for the state bee.

The 14-year-old is a student in CHS social studies teacher Lee Becker's classroom. "I'm interested in geography just because I'm interested in geography," Hill explained. "It's my favorite subject in school. It's something I've always liked, and having Mr. Becker as a teacher makes it so much better, so much more fun."

Hill also explained that his interest in geography may also come from the fact that his family would take a family vacation and he would follow their route in an atlas.

"I've always been drawn to geography," he added.

Becker held the CHS geography bee on Dec. 21, before school let out for Christmas break, and Kadin had all his islands, peninsulas and continents in a row.

Hill stated, "Here at school, we're given 15 to 30 seconds to answer questions about geography, and we're not allowed to look anything up, although we did have some multiple choice. There's geography, and also a few rounds of current events, what's going on in the world right now. At the school geography bee, I wasn't really nervous because I guess it was over and then I found out. It went really fast."

For his local accomplishments, Hill received a medal, and after he took the qualifiers' test in January, he had to wait, as there wasn't much studying he could do for either the test or the still-upcoming state contest, since he had no certainty what he'd be asked.

A few weeks ago, his teacher called him to the front of the class and announced Hill had qualified for the state contest.

"He congratulated me and said I was advancing to state at St. Cloud. I was surprised that I made it," he added. "When I won the school geography bee, I was nervous about taking the test because I didn't have any idea what it was going to be about, and when I actually looked at it, I was quite confident I was going to pass it."

His parents were ecstatic to learn of their son's advancement to the state competition. "They both were really excited when I told them, and they said they'd make the trip and that maybe my grandparents would be coming, too," Hill said.

He is excited to represent Chatfield at the state competition because the last student who went from the area did so in 2004. His biggest worry is the fact that there are so many kids who will be competing at state.

"I guess since there are so many kids, it's nerve-wracking, but I'll have to see," Hill said. "I guess it's kind of scary, especially when there are so many things that could be asked and I have only so much time to study. I'm nervous, too, because that comes naturally. I think it's exciting being the only student coming from Chatfield - it will be nice to represent Chatfield in the state geography bee."

Hill continued, "I think it's an honor to go to state since only one student per district is allowed to go...it means I'm held in high accord."

Plus, his most esteemed teacher might be there alongside his parents to cheer him on through the Panama Canal or the Straits of Gibraltar. "I'm glad Mr. Becker is contemplating going to state with me," he admitted.

When he's not studying, Hill, who aspires to study medicine and maybe become a doctor or a nurse, enjoys reading, listening to music and playing games.

He advised other students, "If you like geography and what it's all about, it's a good chance that you'll be able to go to state."