Posted: Apr 5, 2013 7:10 PM by Drew Trafton - MTN News
BILLINGS- The odds of winning Friday's state-level National Geographic Bee were not in Grace Rembert's favor--and she knew it.
The Bozeman Morning Star Elementary student was just one of 100 students, all champions from their respective Montana schools, invited to Montana State University-Billings to compete at the statewide level of the bee on Friday afternoon.
"I had a one-in-a-hundred chance of winning and after the tie breaker round I had a one-in-ten chance of winning," said Rembert.
Of course, those were just the statistical odds. If you believe in intangibles, you may also want to consider that Grace, a 5th grader, was staring down 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
However, Rembert battled on through ten preliminary rounds of questions--the stage of the competition that tripped her up the year before.
You know, when she was just a 4th grader.
"My goal was to do much better than I did last year," said Rembert.
And true to her goal, when the ten students who qualified for the final round were introduced, Grace stood amongst them.
And she kept standing.
The only girl remaining in the competition looked cool and composed as she watched seven of the male finalists bite the dust.
At that point, Rembert had made it to the ‘money round' with two 8th graders.
Following a few more questions, Gene Cantley from Our Lady of Lourdes School in Great Falls finished 3rd.
That left Rembert facing Missoula 8th grader Logan Means.
The two competitors answered their way to a tiebreaker.
After falling behind the Washington Middle School student by one question in the best of three tiebreaker, Rembert fought her way back to even the tally on the final question-meaning the pair were heading to a sudden death tiebreaker.
After several gasp-inducing (from the audience) correct answers from both contestants the competition reached it's apex.
A final question was asked and correctly answered by Montana's new 2013 state champion: Grace Rembert.
The impressed and jam-packed lecture hall erupted in applause.
"This might be the greatest moment of my life," said Rembert after she had been showered with awards.
For her exceptional showing, Rembert received $100, a DVD copy of "The Complete National Geographic" and the grand prize: an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals of the competition in May.
The winner of the national competition, comprised of state and territory champions from the United States, will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society and an all expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic crew.
Once again, Rembert will be one of 100 students competing for a title.
And she says she'll be preparing for the national finals with the same "one step at a time" mentality that got her to there in the first place.
"I'd like to finish in the top ten," said Rembert of her future goals with the competition.
Of course, the ambitious fifth grader's short term goals don't end with geography.
If Rembert's name sounds familiar, it's likely because you recognized her from her finish at the state spelling bee-where she tied for 2nd.
"I really want to win the state spelling bee," said Rembert.
I wouldn't bet against her.