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Okotoks student third in national geography competition

Brant Christian School student Jude Korthuis places third in Canadian Geographic Challenge

One youth put Okotoks on the map — or at least knows where to find it.

After rising through the school, provincial and national levels of the Canadian Geographic Challenge, Jude Korthuis was one of just five to compete in the national final, where he ranked third in the country.

Squaring off in the competition of geography trivia, the Grade 8 student from Brant Christian School was in his element.

“It’s learning geography…I think I studied way too hard,” said Korthuis, a self-proclaimed geography buff.

The first few rounds were a breeze, and then things heated up.

“It was when it went to the finals I kind of was confused, and then when I won third, I was amazed,” he said.

While past years featured an in-person competition for the event, which was founded by late Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, this year the event remained online, with contestants joining via Zoom and entering their answers via Google forms.

They had little margin for error, with one question repeat available throughout the entire session.

His father Tim Korthuis was blown away by his son’s performance, and recalled an argument after, where Jude mentioned Czechia and the all-knowing dad thought his son might have gotten it wrong.

“I said Czech Republic, he said it’s Czechia,” the father said. “He’s like, ‘They changed it to Czechia. This is my jam, I’m not wrong.’

“Like, I feel like I’m pretty intelligent, but it’s just like, he’s naming countries where I’m like ‘I didn’t even know that existed.”

While the family partakes in trivia games, Jude was always the prodigal son when it came to matters of the map.

“We play this game called Geo Guesser, and it literally drops you anywhere in the middle of Earth and you have to figure out where you are,” Tim said. “Pretty much everyone in the family gets into it but [Jude] is the one that really stays engaged the longest.

“A lot of it is just looking around at the type of animals, trees, buildings, all the things that relate.”

For his troubles, the young Korthuis netted $1,000 in prize money, but has no plans as to how it will be spent.

The Canadian Geographic Challenge National Final can be viewed at

Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and
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