Tommy said he “obviously really wants to do well,” but is not feeling as much pressure as he does when competing against his peers.
“You know that it is a lot harder and the competition is a lot better, so honestly, for me, the school competition is more nerve-wracking,” he said.
The Cooperstown social studies teacher gives Tommy most of the credit for his well-versed knowledge.
“We do not emphasize geography the way we probably did in the past,” Brotherton said. “A lot of knowledge he has is stuff he has learned on his own.”
Tommy said he has soaked up a lot of information from reading.
The seventh-grader said he is happy to have the opportunity to go to states again.
“It’s one of those things that I have been doing for a long time and it would have been a little bit of a let down if I didn’t do it this year,” he said.
Tommy said he thought the test questions were harder this year compared to the last couple of years. However, he said it made it mean more to him to qualify because students with the top 100 scores are selected from the entire state.
“Usually the people who win it are the eighth-graders,” Tommy said. “They generally have the most experience.”
Tommy said he continues to study in hopes of bettering his chances.
“I’ve learned that if you really want to do well you have to study a lot,” he said. “The people who win are studying for the whole year for like two hours a day. You just cannot compete with that.”
Tommy’s parents are expected to travel to the competition with their son. However, Tommy said they will probably not get to see much unless he makes it to the final round because much of the competition is not done in front of the public.