Where in the world is Arjun Kumar?

April 26, 2011

Beaver Lake student earns National Geographic Bee spot

Arjun Kumar, a Beaver Lake Middle School seventh-grader, studies a world atlas after winning the state National Geographic Bee. By Christopher Huber

Arjun Kumar stood on the stage in front of a quiet auditorium, waiting to hear the question. The seventh-grader at Beaver Lake Middle School had spent the day wracking his brain about countries, economies, land masses and other geographic features. He had answered better than 98 other Washington students to make the finals.

But it came down to one final answer that would be the difference between going home the runner-up or taking a trip to Washington, D.C.

“If I miss one question, I don’t sorta let that get in my way,” Arjun said about the climb to the top.

The make-or-break question asked the finalists to identify the Asian country that China surpassed last year to became the second-largest economy in the world. Arjun’s correct answer: Japan.

“In the moment I won, it was like the entire room let out a breath,” he said.

The 13-year-old is the state Geographic Bee champion and is due to travel to the other Washington in May to compete in the National Geographic Bee.

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Local former astronaut hopes to land space shuttle for museum

April 20, 2010

Issaquah resident and former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar will step down as CEO of The Museum of Flight in July to focus on acquiring a decommissioned space shuttle for the Seattle museum.

NASA will retire the three orbiters by next year. Museums across the nation hope to net the shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour. The space agency has promised the shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state legislators offered support — and $3 million — to help land a shuttle for Washington. The Museum of Flight plans to add exhibition space, called the Space Gallery, to house a shuttle.

“Thanks to the governor and Legislature, the state’s capital budget included $3 million for a Space Gallery to house the space shuttle and other space exploration artifacts,” Dunbar said in a news release. “It brings us to three-quarters of our goal which we expect to reach soon. In the meantime, we are hard at work on a design for the gallery.”

Dunbar will step down as CEO on July 1. Michael Hallman, a museum trustee and a former Boeing and Microsoft executive, has already started handling day-to-day operations for the museum. Read more