Holmes student maps success at state

       When Holmes social studies teacher Edlyn Plute asks her class to draw a map of Africa, she knows what she's going to get from most of the class: a sketch that bears a faint resemblance to the large continent.
        She also knows what she's going to get from seventh-grader James Law: a detailed, accurate outline, with land features identified and separate countries delineated.
       That's why she was pleased - but not overly surprised - when James recently won second place in the Colorado Geography Bee, the best showing ever by a Holmes student in the statewide competition for middle-schoolers.
        “He's been looking forward to this since day one (of class),” she said.
       His pleasure in the subject dates back to childhood. “When I was little, I was interested in maps,” James said. “I started trying to draw them.”
       He also credited the support of his parents, both of whom are public school teachers. For his own future, James is thinking about being a National Geographic photographer or a cartographer.
       The bee is based on National Geographic magazine, which is fortuitous because “I love reading National Geographic,” James said. “Their maps are awesome.”
       But even the most studious of geographers would have trouble preparing for Geography Bee questions that could address any part of the world. “It was hard to study for this,” James said. “You never knew what was coming up.”
        The questions “got harder in each round,” he said. To reach the finals, he had to identify a tiny country in the Indian ocean (Maldives).
       Although saying he “felt good” about doing so well, James modestly deflected attention from himself to the fact that another District 11 middle-schooler (from Jenkins) took third.
       James' prize was $75 and a packet from National Geographic.

Westside Pioneer article