Jacob Burnley said it was "nerve wracking" when he was asked what mineral is mined from Lake Assal in Africa at the National Geographic World Championships that were held in St. Petersburg, Russia, last month.
Burnley, a student from Dover Bay Secondary School who has a love of geography, was chosen last spring as one of three students from across Canada to head to the championships after national competitions.
He remembered that he read in a magazine somewhere that salt was the right answer and his response helped the Canadian team acquire the silver medal out of 18 national teams that participated in the prestigious competition that had Jeopardy host Alex Trebek hosting the final round.
"Getting the right answer to the question was a real game changer for me and I was really happy that I remembered," Burnley said at his north-end home Wednesday.
"It was unbelievable when we won the silver, especially considering that participants are only allowed to compete just once in these challenges and I wouldn't have had another chance. It was a great opportunity and I really enjoyed travelling and meeting people from all over the world."
The United States took the gold in the competition while India won the bronze medal.
The selection of Burnley was based upon his impressive results in the Great Canadian Geography Challenge in which he has placed highly over the past three years in the national competition, which is sponsored by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.
Burnley was joined by Kyle Richardson and Spencer Zhao, both from Ontario, on the Canadian team. They met in Ottawa prior to heading to the international competition for further training with their coach Beth Dye, a geography and social studies teacher from Kamloops and a member of the board of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Burnley, who will be heading into Grade 11 next month, hopes to have a career in either urban planning, cartography or maybe even an international diplomat.
But, in the meantime, he'll try his hand at being the correspondent for the Nanaimo Daily News at his school for the year, writing columns about activities at Dover Bay.
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