It may be old news to some of you, but in all actuality March 2009 isn't all that far behind us, and that's when Michael Baker, a Rock School student here at Mom's was in the Courier Journal for winning the National Geographic Spelling Bee!
"When Michael Baker won his school's competition for the National Geographic Bee as a fourth-grader, he was surprised and excited. It was his first time in the competition, and he beat all the other students in grades four through eight at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Jeffersonville
Michael, 13, the son of Karen and Matt Schneider of Jeffersonville, has won the school competition five straight years, setting a school record. He has taken a test to compete in the state geography bee in April. "I was surprised that I'd done it for five years in a row and that I had a record," he said of his accomplishment.
His mother said she was confident he would win again this year, even though she knew he had some tough competition at the school.
"He felt more pressure this year," she said. "But he never seemed nervous."
After winning the school's geography bee, Michael took the written test to qualify for the state bee, which geography teacher Jackie Shockley submitted. If he has one of the top 100 test scores in the state, he will compete in an oral competition April 3.
If he wins at state, he would then compete against other state winners in the national finals at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., in late May. Contestants in that bee will compete for $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 scholarships.
Michael said the school contests have sparked his interest in geography and trivia. He said he likes to use the internet to learn about different cultures, languages and customs.
"You can find so much about all the different countries," he said.
His trivia knowledge has earned him a spot on Sacred Heart's Academic Olympics team, a competition in which area Catholic schools send a group of five students each in grades six through eight to compete at Providence High School.
Michael said he has other interests as well, from drawing and science to running for the school's track team and playing piano. He has taken piano lessons for about five years and participates in Mom's Music's Rock School. He plays keyboards in his band, Illustrator, which recently performed at a Rock School event at Phoenix Hill Tavern in Louisville.
Shockley, who has organized the school's geography competition for 10 years, said she is proud of his accomplishments, especially when he won as a younger student.
"It's absolutely the most awesome accomplishment," she said. "At this point, he's not made it into the state competition, but that would be absolutely wonderful for him to do that because this is his last year to do this.""
-From the March 18, 2009 edition of the Courier Journal.
Congratulations Michael from all of us here at Mom's!