Eddy Melendez, (center) an eighth-grader at Lester Middle School, represented all of the Department of Defense Education Activity at the National Geography Bee in Washington D.C, smiles for a photo with his mother, Sandra Melendez, (left) and his father, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Cristhian Melendez, (right) June 6, 2019 on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brennan J. Beauton)
Eddy Melendez, (center) an eighth-grader at Lester Middle School, represented all of the Department of Defense Education Activity at the National Geography Bee in Washington D.C, smiles for a photo with his mother, Sandra Melendez, (left) and his father, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Cristhian Melendez, (right) June 6, 2019 on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brennan J. Beauton)

Lester Middle School student represents DoDEA at National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C.

by Lance Cpl. Brennan Beauton
U.S. Marine Corps

CAMP LESTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Lester Middle School eighth-grader Eddy Melendez, 14, represented all of the Department of Defense Education Activity at the National Geography Bee May 19-22 at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington D.C. 

Melendez won the National Geography State Bee where he earned an all-expenses paid trip to Washington to compete against kids from across the world.

“It hasn’t really sunk in that I represented the entire DoDEA,” said Melendez. “I was so lucky to get so much support from my school. Some of my teachers gave me books that really helped.”

According to Melendez, there are different levels of the completion before going all the way to Washington. Melendez started off his journey by competing against 20 students from Lester Middle School. After winning that, he outscored the winners of the two Kadena AB schools on Okinawa and went on to the DoDEA competition. Melendez outscored all competitors at the DoDEA competition and punched his ticket to represent the entire Department of Defense in Washington.

Upon arrival in Washington, D.C. Melendez was given his medal for winning the National Geographic State Bee. The competition started off with the preliminary rounds where the first three questions were to be written down and the fourth question being an essay response. After the written portion, the competitors were to answer questions orally. 

“I was very nervous,” said Melendez. “The written part, I was ready for, but the oral part I became really nervous.”

According to Melendez, he finished in the middle of the board; not super high, but not super low.

“He did amazing,” said Sandra Melendez, Eddy’s mother. “I could not be more proud of my son. I felt overwhelmed and super proud seeing him up there with all the other kids from around the world.” 

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