For 21 years the Canadian Geographic Challenge has tried to mystify Canada’s brightest young geography stars with some of the toughest geography questions our experts can create. This year’s challenge will be no different.

From June 3 to 5, a handful of Canada’s best young geographers will vie for the title of National Champion in Ottawa. The 20 students, ranging from Grade 7 to 10, will be facing multiple choice, in-the-field and video questions.

To glean some insight into what makes a geography genius we asked this year’s finalists about their hobbies, favourite school subjects, role models and what they would like to be when they grow up.

Here’s a bit of what they had to say.

Aaron Abraham, Grade 9, Weber Academy, Calgary, Alta.
I like to read novels and stories based on historical and current events. I also like debates, elocution and recitation, badminton and nature photography. It has always been my dream to represent Canada on a global stage.

Adam Glustein, Grade 9, Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ont.
I’m on my school’s varsity baseball team and my favourite subjects are gym class and business. I’d like to work in science or with the stock market.

A.J. Cava, Grade 9, St. Marguerite D’Youville Catholic School, Toronto, Ont.
In my spare time I like to watch anime, listen to music, write stories and surfing the internet, so it’s no surprise that some of the careers I’m interested in are musician, author and computer programmer.

Chloe Nevin, Grade 7, École des Trois Soleil, Iqaluit, NU.
I like to draw, speed skate and hangout with friends. I like geography because I learn new things about the world.

Christian Kyle, Grade 10, Notre Dame Regional Secondary, Vancouver, B.C.
I like geography because it is interesting and there is always something new to learn about it, but for a career I’d like to be a doctor or a lawyer.

Evan Fingerhut, Grade 8, Caledonia Junior High School, Dartmouth N.S.
I like to play sports, mainly soccer, and I love travelling and learning about the world. I lived in Japan for six months and that’s how I became interested in geography.

Holden O’Donnell, Grade 9, Fredericton High School, Fredericton, N.B.
My career interests are journalism, writer or lawyer, but I like geography because I learn about the history and culture of different places around the world.

Jack Cheng, Grade 10, Western Canada High School, Calgary, Alta.
I enjoy reading geography books, novels and science books, but I also like to view celestial objects through my telescope and, back on earth, I like to garden.

Jake Douglas, Grade 8, Monseigneur-Jamot School, Peterborough, Ont.
I like socializing with friends, practicing piano, playing sports, riding my bike and I sometimes just stare at a big world map for a while trying to discover something new.

James Cogswell, Grade 9, Bernice MacNaughton High School, Moncton, N.B.
Apart from reading trivia books, and hiking, I’m a member of the 101st Air Cadet squadron Moncton, where I’ve had the chance to fly in a Cesena.

Jessica Cao, Grade 10, Toronto, Ont.
My hobbies are artistic. I spend most of my spare time reading. I tent to read whatever books catch my eye; most of the books are classics, young adult romance and biographies.

Josh Schat, Grade 10, London District Christian Secondary School, London, Ont.
I’m excited to be back this year! A role model of mine is Les Stroud, Survivor Man, because he’s made the wilderness accessible to the public.

Joshua DeKwant, Grade 7, Inuvik, Nunavut
In my spare time I play instruments, hang out with friends and play with my dog. I also play soccer, floor hockey and like to go ski-dooing. For a career I think I’d like to be a chef or a songwriter.

Kristiaan Vanden Hoeven, Centennial Regional High School, Grade 9, Greenfield Park, Que.
I like linguistics and history and love learning about culture and how other people live. I would love to be a diplomat.

Mitchell Barnes, Grade 8, St John’s Ravenscourt, Winnipeg, Man.
In my spare time I like to work on computer programming, Lego and sports like hockey, swimming and badminton. I’d like to be either an architect or a computer programmer in the future.

Nathan Mullins, Grade 10, Holy Trinity High School, Torbay, Nfld.
My extracurricular activities are the air cadets, volunteering in my community and the Duke of Edinburgh Program. Chris Hadfield is a role model because he worked so hard to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut.

Oliver Morton, Grade 9, Greenwood College School, Toronto, Ont.
I play the piano a lot, but I also play sports such as soccer and basketball. I like geography because I like knowing lots of things about our world.

Patrick Prochazka, Grade 10, Pickering College, Newmarket, Ont.
I’m not sure what I want to do for a career but I would love to pursue science or law. But I hope geography will be part of my career somehow.

Tessa Gayer, Grade 9, Riverdale Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ont.
Jane Goodall is my role model because she’s a woman who drastically changed the way we view animals, and our own intelligence. I’m involved in our Eco Team and the Students Against Sexual Stereotyping group, and outside of school I volunteer at a bird banding station.

William Chapman, Grade 7, Goulbourn Middle School, Stittsville, Ont.
In my spare time I enjoy geocaching, paintball, sailing, kayaking and going to the beach. I’m also studying Dutch and play the bagpipes!

For more information about this year’s top young geographers visit: