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Geography: don't leave home without it!

Nathaniel "Nathan" Cornelius is a seventh grader, but he doesn't leave home to go to school. The 13-year-old from Cottonwood, Minnesota, is home-schooled with guidelines from the Marshall Area Christian Home Educators' Association.

Nathan's father, Craig Cornelius, said in an interview with the Washington Times that he and his wife, Michele, encouraged their son's love for geography by providing him with geography books and atlases. Mr. Cornelius attributed Nathan's geography prowess mostly to his intense interest in and love for the subject. "He just loves geography," Mr. Cornelius told the Times. "It's a natural gift. We can't really take credit for it."

Not surprisingly, Nathan excelled in this year's National Geographic Bee, held in Washington, D.C, in May. The Associated Press reported about the event: "Nathaniel Cornelius topped young people from across the nation to win a $25,000 college scholarship. The winning question: 'Lake Gatun, an artificial lake that constitutes part of the Panama Canal system, was created by damming which river?' The answer: Chagres River."

Nathan's victory was by no means a walk-away, however. The runner-up, Karan Takhar, a 14-year-old from East Providence, Rhode Island, put up a formidable challenge and fought Nathan to a sudden-death tiebreaker round.

Alex Trebek, famous as the host of Jeopardy, moderated the geography bee. He was amazed at how close the final round between Nathaniel and Karan was. "I thought I'd be reading questions until my 70th birthday," Trebek told the Times.

The AP reported that in addition to his extensive knowledge of geography, Nathan also plays piano and classical guitar and enjoys photography.
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Title Annotation:THE GOODNESS OF AMERICA; Nathaniel Cornelius
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 27, 2005
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