For the second year in a row, Ian Murray, 12, will represent Westbrook in the Maine Geographic Bee, April 4. A seventh-grader at Wescott Junior High School, Murray first had to compete against his classmates in a bee and then take a written test in which he had to have one of the top 100 scores in Maine in order to qualify for the statewide bee. This year, the bee will be held at the Abromson Education Center on the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland. Last week, Murray sat down with the American Journal to talk about what he expects at the bee this year, where in the world he would like to travel and what he wants to be when he grows up.

Q: You competed in the state geographic bee last year. How did you do?

A: I don’t really know. I got one of the lower end scores.

Q: So, are you going to study harder this year?

A: I probably should, but I haven’t started yet. In social studies, we’re studying all the different continents and stuff about them.

Q: What was the bee like last year?

A: Last year, it was in Orono and it was from 11 in the morning through the afternoon. There’s eight rounds of questions. The top 10 go to the final round, which determines the state winner.

Q: Are you less nervous this year because you’ve been there before?

A: I’ll probably be just as nervous.

Q: When did you start being interested in geography?

A: When I was 5, I had this placemat of all the states and capitals. I didn’t try to memorize them, but they were staring at me every lunch and dinner.

Q: Is there any one area of the world that you know a lot about?

A: Probably the United States, but other than that, I know about Australia a lot because in social studies we’re in continent groups and we’ve done a lot of presentations about it.

Q: What’s a fact you know about Australia that you think other people might not know?

A: There’s lakes there in the desert that, in the summer, they dry up completely or almost completely. There’s this rock called Ayers Rock and it’s a mile high or a couple miles high. It’s just one rock. It’s the biggest rock in the world.

Q: What other subjects do you like in school?

A: In language arts, we’re doing this project where we have to write this short story that’s 20 pages. It’s a long story to me. I like it a lot. In science, we’re learning about atoms and molecules.

Q: What do you like to do outside of school?

A: I really love the Harry Potter books. Right now, I’m on the seventh. We have day lilies out front. I graph them every day. This summer, it will be six years. It’s just something interesting to do. I don’t really study them. I just keep track of them. Surprisingly, they’re edible and they taste a little like lettuce.

Q: Do you know what you’d like to be when you grow up?

A: A meteorologist. I’ve wanted to be one since I was 7. I like the weather. One night, when I was 7, there was this thunderstorm, and it really interested me. I love thunderstorms. I check the weather on the computer every day.

Q: Of the places you have visited, which one is your favorite?

A: Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve been there like five times because my uncle used to live there. It’s really hot and sunny. It has nice beaches. There’s a lot to do there. He had an in-ground pool.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: I’d probably go to Italy first. I’m half Italian.

Q: Where do you think you’ll live when you’re older?

A: I want to move to the suburbs of Austin, Texas. They offer a lot of money for a meteorology job.

Q: If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called and who would play you?

A: I don’t know anybody that looks like me. Probably Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter. It would be called – well, I can’t really say because I’m only 12, so it would be called “Ian’s Life.”

Ian Murray, a seventh grader at Wescott Junior High School, will represent Westbrook at the Maine Geographic Bee for the second year in a row. “I’ll probably be just as nervous as last year,” he says.


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