People & Culture

Canadian Geographic Challenge alumni remember Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek's involvement in the Canadian Geographic Challenge and International Geographic Olympiad inspired generations of young learners

  • Nov 21, 2020
  • 796 words
  • 4 minutes
Alex Trebek stands on a stage with Canadian Geographic Challenge alumni Expand Image

Alex Trebek was a well-documented supporter of geography education, especially in Canada. He hosted multiple editions of the Canadian Geographical Challenge, the National Geographic Bee and the International Geographic Olympiad and often took the time to connect with the participants of these events on more than a surface level.

In light of his passing, alumni of the Canadian Geographic Challenge connected to share their memories with the legendary Alex Trebek and how their experiences shaped and inspired their lives.

“Geography has been something that has shaped much of my character, perception and awareness. I would never be where I am today or have the opportunities that I had in the International Geography Olympiad or the Canadian Geographic Challenge without the support of Alex Trebek. He has contributed greatly to create and promote an environment where geography is essential. His legacy as a champion for geographic literacy will be forever remembered.” – Jerry Sun

“Ever since I was in elementary schools, I was fascinated with geography, but my opportunity to let me knowledge shine was through the Canadian Geographic Challenge and the International Geography Olympiad. Alex Trebek has done so much to promote geographic education, including the support of organizations such as Canadian Geographic. We will never forget his contributions to geography in Canada and around the world.” – Jack Cheng

“Participating at the International Geography Olympiad was truly a life changing experience which encouraged me to pursue a career in geography. I would like to thank Alex Trebek for his efforts and did cation in promoting geographic education, inspiring many future geographers.” – Andrew Ding

A vintage photo of Alex Trebek hosting the Canadian Geographic Challenge Expand Image
Alex Trebek hosts the first Canadian Geography Challenge (known then as the Great Canadian Geographic Challenge) in 1995. (Photo: RCGS Archives)

“It’s fair to say that without the invaluable support of Alex Trebek, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in some of the most incredible opportunities I’ve had thus far, including Reach for the Top, the Canadian Geographic Challenge, and the International Geography Olympiad. Ever since first watching him on screen in Jeopardy, Alex Trebek taught me not only the importance of understanding the world and all its beauty, but to never cease in one’s curiosity and desire to explore.” – Malhaar Moharir

“When I was a small kid in elementary school, I watched Jeopardy weekly at 8:00 p.m. as a reward for finishing my homework early. The host, whose name I did not know back then, inspired me to learn and be curious about the world around me. Many years later, I had the honour of meeting Alex Trebek, and behind the fame was a deeply humble, witty, and considerate person. He was a Canadian icon and will be sorely missed.” – Anzo Nguyen

“If I had to pick one person who is my greatest inspiration, it would be Alex Trebek. His commitment to bringing knowledge into peoples’ homes and promoting geographical literacy is what inspired my to become a geography student, and hopefully one day a professor. I am incredibly indebted to Mr. Trebek not only for being such an inspiring figure in my life, but providing me with endless opportunities through the Canadian Geographic Challenge and International Geography Olympiad. I would like to thank him for always believing in students like me.” – Ben Woodward

Alex Trebek poses for a photo with Can Geo Challenge finalists Expand Image
Alex Trebek poses for photos with finalists at the Canadian Geographic Challenge in 2015. (Photo: Chrystia Chudczak)

“May a great Canadian rest in peace. His championing of geography allowed so many students like me to meet and compete with like-minded peers. His generosity was what brought us all together, and his legacy will have a lasting impact on geographic education. It was an honour to meet him and celebrate him, and I will remember his kindness for the rest of my life.” – David Landry

“Without Alex Trebek’s support for the RCGS, I never would have had the opportunity to meet students who find geography as fascinating and important as I do. However, actually meeting and getting to know Alex Trebek on an adventure cruise expedition was incredible. He was truly a kind and generous person, and always ready to crack a joke. I’ll always remember meeting Alex Trebek on the top deck of the ship at sunrise to watch for whales, along with Ben and Jake. I consider him a role model, because I doubt many celebrities are as genuine in real life as Alex Trebek was.” – Evan Fingerhut

“I feel so lucky to have gotten to know Alex Trebek through the Canadian Geographic Challenge, and hosting a trivia night with him is something that I will never forget. His passion for geographic education inspired me to be a lifelong learner, and taught me that asking questions is just as important as finding the answers.” – Jake Douglas


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