It is safe to assume a mountain isn’t Joe Remus’s favorite landform.
The Deer Path Middle School sixth-grader suffered a broken left leg while skiing down Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin last February. His fall cracked a tibia and a fibula. Two rods had to be inserted during surgery.
But name a mountain—any mountain in the world—and it probably wouldn’t take Remus, 12, more than a few seconds to tell you where it stands.
“I’ve been interested in geography my whole life,” Remus says. “It’s cool, studying maps and learning about places all over the world.”
The son of Mark and Laura Remus placed first in the Geographic Bee (GeoBee, for short) at DPMS for the second year in a row last month, uttering the answer “Panama” to clinch the championship; last year’s victorious answer was “Canary Islands.”
The annual event at schools across the country serves as the first round of the National Geographic GeoBee.
DPMS students in grades fifth through eighth had entered the contest, which was held in the school’s auditorium on January 9. Eighth-grader Lili Sandor took runner-up honors.
The bee’s knees of GeoBees in Lake County? Easy.
Has to be.
He had advanced to the state-level round a year ago and finished in a tie for 20th place.
A family commitment this spring will preclude Remus from competing in the next round.
“I want to travel to Australia one day,” says Remus, the older brother of Lily and Luke. “To see the ocean, the coral reefs, the animals there— all of that would be exciting.
“I’d enjoy every day on a trip like that.”
Don’t be surprised if he’ll be able to claim, two decades from now (maybe sooner), that his feet had hit terra firma on each continent.
These days he gets a kick out of traveling rapidly across lacrosse fields as an attack for a Lake Forest Lacrosse Association age-group team.
“It’s fast-paced, fun, and my favorite part about my favorite sport is working together as a team,” Remus, also a golfer, says of the sport he has played since the first grade. “If I see an opening, and I have he ball, I’ll shoot it. But I’m always looking to pass the ball, to get the ball to a teammate who is in a better position to score.”
Last summer the Remus family vacationed in northwest Montana (capital: Helena, a fact Joe Remus learned way back in the fourth grade.) Joe’s grandparents hosted the stay. Joe hiked and waterskied, his left leg having finally healed.
In August he was cleared to resume playing lacrosse.
“I learned a lot about myself after the surgery,” says Remus, whose daily wardrobe included a cast and, later, a walking boot for many months. “I learned how important it is to adapt.”
His favorite class, as of January 24, was drama. His other classes are health, math, language arts, science and social studies.
“We’re learning mostly about culture in my social studies class,” Remus says. “But there is some geography.”
The crack geography student cracks a quick smile. Joe Remus is in a good place.
A very good place.
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