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Golden boys

Team Canada beat out teams from 14 other countries to take the gold medal at the National Geographic World Championship in Mexico City in July. Peter Brandt, 15, of Steinbach, Man., Chris Chiavatti, 15, of Burnaby, B.C., and Graham Tompkins, 16, of Dartmouth, N.S., won the geography competition — moderated by Alex Trebek, host of TV’s “Jeopardy!” — with a solid 12-point lead in the final against the United States and Poland.

“I was thrilled. I didn’t expect to win gold,” says Brandt, the team’s captain. “There was a bit of pressure going in, because Canada has usually done well in the past. We were expected to medal.”
This is the second time Team Canada has earned gold at the World Championship. It has placed in the top three every year except for one since it started participating in the competition in 1995.

“They were an exceptional team,” says teacher Beth Dye, chair of the Canadian Council for Geographic Education and the Geography Challenge, who accompanied the students to Mexico City. “They won because they understood the necessity of working well as a team.”

— Monique Roy-Sole

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Did you know that a 2005 National Survey determined that one-third of adult Canadians can be considered “geographically illiterate”?

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“Geography is the lens for the soul of the earth. With the knowledge of geography, one can examine the earth’s past, assess the present and predict future situations. You can literally be ‘lost’ without geography!”

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