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Educated Athlete

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Carissa Morgan
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
He's a master scuba diver, is on his school's Cross Country team, plays the baritone saxophone, and manages to keep straight A's on his report card -- this extraordinary person happens to be Sam Wolborsky. 

Sam is a 13 year old student in the 8th grade at Andersen Middle School. As a member of the Cross Country team, Sam usually places second or third among team members in local meets. He also plays baritone sax for the school band. 

Outside of school, Sam recently certified as a master scuba diver and has competed in several running competitions. Since January, he placed first, second or third in his age group in six different road races downtown. These races ranged in length from 5 kilometers to 13.1 mile half-marathon. 

Sam certified as an open water diver when he was 10, the youngest allowable age. Since then he has successfully completed the advanced open water and rescue courses, along with training in CPR, first aid, underwater digital photography, underwater navigation, underwater naturalist, fish identification and peak performance buoyancy. 

"His mom and I had the opportunity to certify him in several of these courses, which was a lot of fun," said retired Col. Steve Wolborsky, former 36th Wing Vice Commander, who now teaches scuba with his wife M.J. 

Sam has over 150 dives under his belt and is the youngest master scuba diver on record at the local dive center, Micronesian Divers Association. 

Sam's hobbies include playing video games even though he has no video game systems, understanding new technology and how things work and looking at airplanes and architecture. 

The last year has been an awesome ride for Sam. Early in 2007, Sam placed first in his school Spelling bee, moving on to the Regional bee where he placed 3rd overall and 1st among Guam school children. 

"Sam received an all expense paid trip to Japan last summer for winning a Haiku competition sponsored by Japan Air Lines," said Colonel Wolborsky. "In addition to that trip, he and four of his classmates once again earned a free trip to Japan last month for the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Tsukuba City," he said. 

"Sam got back at 1 a.m. from Japan, and had to take the regional test for the National Geographic Bee at Congresswoman Bordallo's office that same morning at 8," said Colonel Wolborsky. 

As a result of his performance on that test, Sam will compete in The National Geographic Bee, held in Washington D.C. in May. Sam will represent the U.S. Western Pacific Territories in the national-level competition. Sam competed locally in the bee last year, but now needs to take his game to the next level. 

"I studied every night for 30 minutes for a month last year and this year I have pretty much the same routine," said Sam. "It's hard because I have to balance it with my other commitments and homework. I really have to budget my time or I risk losing focus on my schoolwork, but I have managed to juggle both," he said. 

"It's tough on him," said Colonel Wolborsky, who plans to attend the National Geographic bee along with one of Sam's teachers, Mr. Brian Palanganas. "While we are very proud of Sam, we are ready for him to go back to a more normal routine." 

The National Geographic competition consists of tests on terrain, capitals, history and culture. Furthermore, at the national level there is possibly an added component. 

"I think at nationals there may be a stand up, oral kind of quiz bowl competition," said Sam. 

"The competition started out on the grade level," he said. "Then I won for my school, and has to take a test they call a qualifier. I qualified and took the regional test," he said.
"I didn't think I was going to win the regional test, because I was tired after getting in so late from Japan," said Sam, "so I was very surprised when they told me I had won." 

"One thing that helps is that my family travels a lot," said Sam. "This made me realize that I want to know where I'm going in relation to the rest of the world, I want to know more about the culture of places I go. 

"It's one thing to read about something, but another to experience it."

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