Passau also boasted a big Roman presence at one time and
was an important center for all Catholics for a long time.
It just happened that the right answer was Regensburg.
The upshot: Rahul earned $25,000 and a traditional
winner’s trip to the Galapagos; Vansh went home with
$15,000, perhaps wondering why, given this was his own
third time in the final and his background in the Bee, he
had not been able to thrash this first-time finalist.
When Rahul went into the competition, he was the dark
The boy from Sugar Land, Texas, had been foiled two
years in a row in the state level. He faced formidable competition in 2010 and 2011 at the state level, with the winners of that contest, Eric Yang and Tine Valencic, respectively, going on to win the national contests.
More than the competition, Rahul says he was drawn to
geography itself, an interest that began when he was 3 or 4
years old, when his parents bought him a globe.
“Spinning the globe (there was) the fascination of seeing
the different colors, lands,” he says, while admitting that he
would have been too young to appreciate or, thus, be
inspired by what those mysterious patterns meant. But he
was getting familiar with the language of geography.
A year or so later, his parents gave him an atlas. With help
from his parents, he began getting an idea about what the
Along with that, and some reference books, Rahul got an
idea about a world, on the surface of which his home town
of Sugar Land was relatively but a scintilla of a smidgen of
a microscopic dot.
Rahul had some material, including reference books, to
begin his vicarious explorations, even though he didn’t
know the names of countries and their capitals.
By the time he was in Walker Elementary School’s fourth
grade, the first year entry is permitted, Rahul entered himself in the Geography Bee — and became the first fourth-grader to make it to the state bee. That was in 2008.
He made it to the state level the next three years, but
could not break through.
In 2012, now in the eighth grade at Quail Valley Middle
School in Missouri City, Rahul decided to tighten things
“I realized I had only one more year (to participate in the
competition). I realized I needed to learn more. I went
through lots of info,” he says, adding that he focused on one
“I think one major thing I overlooked was the states and
provinces of other countries. (Learning about those) was
It taught him not just about administrative divisions, but
Rahul Nagvekar enjoys the outdoors. Even as a child when the family drove on trips, he never tired of them.
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