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Cottage Grove 6th-grader loved geography from young age

Christian Moreno, Cottage Grove Middle School sixth-grader, who was in the state geography bee last week, has a strong interest in karate and has competed in the sport for seven years. (Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner)

Like other sixth-grade boys, Christian Moreno likes playing basketball, football and video games.

What sets him apart is that he's a wizard at geography.

After he won the Cottage Grove Middle School geography bee, he became eligible to take the state test, and was among the 100 students across the state competing in the geography bee at St. Cloud State University last week.

Moreno, whose bedroom is filled with trophies he earned during his seven years as a student of karate, attended the School District 833 Gateway program for gifted and talented students before graduating to middle school.

His mother, Yrma, said Christian was reading books at 3 years old. "He trusts himself to do things," she said.

Christian said his interest in geography began when his mother bought him books about places around the world. "I had a big map in my bedroom," he said in an interview April 5 in the Cottage Grove home he also shares with his younger brother, Dylan.

His father, Luis, said Christian took an early interest in reading newspapers.

Both parents are natives of Venezuela.

At school, science and social studies are his favorite subjects and classmates tease him by asking him geography questions.

Christian writes articles for the school newspaper about books he's read. He likes to watch ESPN and the Cartoon Network along with "Mythbusters," on the Discovery Channel.

It's a bit too soon to be concerned about what he will do in the future, but Christian is interested in becoming a scientist, he said. He also has other aspirations, though.

"If things work out like I want them to, I want to be a basketball or football player," he said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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