Stevenson headed to Middle School state geography bee


Eighth-grader AJ Stevenson, middle, is pictured with his sister, Marta, and brother Kjell, on a trip to Belize last year. AJ will represent Stratford in the state geography bee on March 31.

AJ Stevenson knows where his home room is in the Middle School at Stratford Academy. It’s in Room 100 with Mrs. Mary Reid Carter.

He knows how to get to his math, history and science classes, too.

But AJ also knows Lima is the capital of Peru and the Himalayas are in Nepal. He has been around the globe without ever going to many of these places.

AJ is an eighth-grader at Stratford. Never challenge him at the TV game show “Jeopardy!”  if the category is “Islands of the South Pacific.’’

He will beat you fair and square.

AJ was the winner of the Stratford Middle School Geography Bee. He will advance to the state tournament at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville on March 31. If he advances from there, he will be eligible to attend the prestigious National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. from May 14-19. The winner of nationals gets a $50,000 scholarship and a trip of their choice.

The National Geographic Bee started as a Middle School wide contest amongst all the students. Each student receives seven  questions from a variety of geography and history based categories.

AJ was one of the few students in the eighth grade who answered every question correctly. After the first contest round was over, he continued to the school auditorium to battle the other competitors from seventh and sixth grade to see who would win school champion.

 If he got two wrong, he would have been eliminated. The competition keeps on going until there is one person left. AJ said the most difficult questions were about rivers and islands.

AJ loves to travel and one day wants to one day visit Australia because “it is a big island and it has weird animals on it like kangaroos and platypuses.” He also thinks “Antarctica is really neat because it is a really big continent and nobody lives there.”

Despite his fondness for geography, AJ said he only occasionally looks at a map.

AJ is originally from Minnesota. Before coming to Macon, he went by Anders, but then decided to go by AJ. His name comes from one of his dad’s friends in at Augustana College.

He has a dog named “Dogzilla” and two siblings — Marta, a sophomore at Stratford, and Kjell, a sixth-grade student.

He is taught by Middle School U.S Civics teacher, Mr. Travis Morrison. AJ said that Mr. Morrison really captivated his interest for geography. He hopes to represent Stratford well at the state meet.