St. Ambrose student takes third place in state geography bee Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
Justin Hineline, an eighth-grader from St. Ambrose Academy, took third place in the National Geographic state bee. (Contributed photo/Angela Hineline)

MADISON -- Eighth-grader Justin Hineline, who attends St. Ambrose Academy in Madison, recently took third place in the state level of the

National Geographic Bee. It was his second consecutive trip to the competition.

Hineline made it through the preliminary rounds with a perfect score before advancing to the finals.

There, he made it through 14 rounds of play, competing neck-and-neck with the eventual first place winner, Asha Jain, a seventh-grader from Minocqua.

Learning about the world

Justin’s journey began two years ago when he took second place in the school level of the bee as a sixth-grader. His mother, Angela, said Justin "enjoyed the experience so much that he decided to study for the school bee his seventh grade year."

After months of intense study, including state capitols and major landforms in the United States, Justin won the school geography bee as a seventh-grader. Shortly after that, he tested in the top 100 students to qualify for the state-level bee.


His mom said Justin thought he prepared himself well for the state competition, but he missed a question in the preliminary rounds.


"After watching the top 10 finalists," Angela said, "he decided he wanted to be up there his eighth grade year and he wanted to prepare to win and earn to trip to Washington, D.C., to compete at the National Geographic Bee."

Several months of intense study were ahead of him. "Justin began his quest to learn everything," his mom said. "And I mean everything he could about the entire world."

A part of "everything," according to his mom was: U.S. geography, the most important geographical features of each of the 196 countries in the world, tourist destinations, current events, world history, and map usage.

"Over a 15 month period, beginning at the end of December 2011 until April 4, 2013, Justin put in nearly 1,700 hours of studying to prepare for the state bee and his dream of making it to nationals," his mom said. "He created Excel databases to capture the critical data on every country of the entire world, created study guides for himself, and read, reviewed, memorized, and memorized some more."

The next steps

While he did not win the state competition and a trip to the national bee, Justin did come home with a third place certificate from National Geographic, a $50 check, a mini GPS, and all the National Geographic magazines since 1888 on DVD.

St. Ambrose Principal Scott Schmiesing said, "We are very proud of Justin’s third place finish. He was in competition with some very knowledgeable world geography students."

Justin plans to continue his study of geography and history as he prepares to compete in the U.S. History Bee and Geography Olympiad competitions in high school.


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