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Imogen makes the team

‘I got in!’ Imogen and Ms McCormac celebrate her achievement

The International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) is quite a big deal for Geography students, and now even more are taking a keen interest after Year 12 St Kilda Road student Imogen Cooper was selected to represent Australia. It’s an annual competition for 16 to 19-year-olds from all over the world, and the students chosen to represent their countries in the Olympiad are the very best.

In April last year, well over three thousand students enthusiastically participated in the Australian competition. Imogen was among them, sitting the demanding multiple choice test along with the rest of her peers in Ms Lindsey McCormac’s Year 11 Geography class. By October, she’d pretty much forgotten about it…

This soon changed when she heard she’d placed first in Victoria. To qualify for the Australian team, she’d have to sit a two-hour written test.

‘There was a lot of analysing of information, applying knowledge I already had, and using data and statistics I was supposed to already know,’ she said, her sheepish grin signalling less-than-complete knowledge. ‘A couple of questions I kind of made up the answers, but… apparently it turned out well!’

Quite the understatement really, for in February a beaming Ms McCormac called Imogen into her office and told her she’d made the team – one of only four students across the country to do so.

‘I was very excited,’ she said. ‘I went home and my mum and I jumped around squealing for half an hour – Yay, I got in!’

Scheduled to be held in Istanbul, Turkey in August, COVID-19 restrictions have meant the competition will now be held virtually, with the Australian team meeting in Brisbane for the week-long event.

This doesn’t take the shine off it for Imogen, however, who clearly just loves geography. ‘I’m really passionate about it,’ she said. ‘It explains a lot about how the natural world works and about how societies work. I find that really, really interesting.’

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