A seventh-grader interested in oceans and who studied up on the world’s lakes to prepare for the National Geographic geography bee at Princeton Middle School on Friday, Jan. 10, won the event.
Anthony Gross not only had to survive seven preliminary rounds to make it into the final stretch, but he had to endure through six championship rounds. There, he and finalist Kyle Zimmerman, seventh-grade, battled for the championship to the end. Zimmerman placed second, and eighth-grader Talon Wilson was third.
Ten students participated in the bee. The 10 were the top scorers in the geography bee’s 50-question written test given earlier to students in grades six through eight.
Contestant-elimination began fairly early in the bee when a student was eliminated if they answered two questions wrong.
Most of the rounds involved the student answering the question without writing anything down. Some rounds had the students writing their questions on pieces of paper and then holding up the paper and giving the answer when called. Contestants were allowed to use maps for one round early in the bee.
The bee began with the question: The Kissimmee River flows into Lake Okeechobee in what state that borders the Gulf of Mexico? The answer is Florida. A student also had to know a little history or culture, such as correctly identifying which U.S. state that borders Lake Erie was first established as a Quaker colony (Pennsylvania).
Those questions seem to be easier than this question that was in the championship round: The Taklimakan Desert, home to the Uyghur people, is located north of the Kunlun Mountains in which Asian country? The answer is China.
Middle School Principal Dan Voce read the questions, and global studies instructors John Clifton and Brett Cloutier
“It was fun,” Zimmerman said after the bee ended.
“It was challenging,” Gross said.
Zimmerman, who hopes to become an architect, said that geography is one of his favorite subjects.
Gross is interested in a career involving oceans, certainly geography related.
Gross next has to take a 100-question written test that is given statewide to geography bee winners. The top 100 scorers in the test get to advance to the state competition on April 4. State champions will receive an all-expense-paid trip to participate in the championship rounds May 19-21 in Washington, D.C.
The national winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galapagos Islands, courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.
The National Geographic Society states that it sponsors the annual geography bee to improve geography education in the United States. The National Geographic Bee, now in its 26th year, has the competition open to grades four through eight in participating schools.
Princeton’s North Elementary (grades three through five) once participated but stopped some years ago and now puts on a science fair.