A chat with the seventh-grade geography whiz

Justin Didden won first place at the National Geographic GeoBee Delaware competition, beating more than 70 students in grades 4-8. His win came with a prize of $1,000 and a trip to the National GeoBee in Washington, D.C. in May. He is a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Central Middle School in Dover, son of Jason and Amy Didden and brother of 10-year-old Peter Didden.

How did it feel to win the GeoBee?

I’m nervous about the competition at the national GeoBee, but it felt good to win the state bee.

How do you know so much about geography?

I have learned about geography over the years from apps, books, school and globes.

Has anyone in particular helped you?

My third grade teacher, Ms. Darling at Booker T. Washington Elementary, got me into geography with an app called Stack the States that she had on a class set of iPads.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?

Florida, because of the wildlife, sea life, theme parks, climate – I love watching thunderstorms.

What place would you most like to travel to and why?

I would love to travel to an alien planet and explore its ecosystems, but on Earth, I would like to travel to Hawaii because of the climate, volcanoes, wildlife, sea life and landforms.

Besides geography, what’s your favorite subject at school?

My favorite topics are meteorology and ichthyology. I took an online high school meteorology class recently and I have lots of books about fish.

What do you like to do outside school?

I like to read, go fishing, play video games, research science topics, take our dog to the dog park, play backyard football and look for animals.

What do you want to do?

I want to be a meteorologist because I’m interested in hurricanes and thunderstorms. I started tracking hurricanes when I was seven because of Hurricane Sandy. Now I constantly check the weather and look at past and present hurricanes. Also, I could work in Florida at the National Hurricane Center.

Is there anything else special about you that we should know?

I play trumpet in the Central Middle School band.