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Bingham wins WJHS’s annual Geography Bee; Paswaters is first runner-up

posted Feb 3, 2020, 3:43 AM by Michael Richards   [ updated Feb 3, 2020, 11:06 AM ]
At Wells Junior High School on January 29, 2020, eighth grade student Ryan Bingham received first place in the school-level or first round of competition in the 2019-2020 National Geographic GeoBee.  After an exciting final round, Kaden Paswaters, also in eighth grade, placed second.  The ten-student contest, the final round of numerous class qualifying bees, took place before the school’s student body in the Ward Gymnasium.  

“Well, I got the first question wrong so I was kind of expecting to go out after that,” said Bingham later.  He added, “But I had no idea this would happen.”   He candidly admitted that he did not know the answer to the deciding question but thought of a couple of likely answers and selected what turned out to be the correct response.  “I kind of guessed and I got it right,” he said.  “Social studies is my favorite class because geography is in it.”   He added that he likes geography and reading National Geographic magazine, the official magazine of the National Geographic Society.  

The other eight students who competed in the WJHS Bee were Olivia Boutot, Cole Gauthier, Sean Gilbert, Jackson Koh, Helen Lee, Jack McDevitt, Jacob Ouellet and Will Scott.  

Social studies teacher Bonnie Dill was the Bee’s organizer and questioner. “It was great to have two fifth graders (and) two sixth graders in the top ten so we have some talent coming up,” said Dill who observed that the contest was topical at times. “You could see in the last few questions that paying attention to the current news helps students to answer the final questions.”  

Others who assisted with the event included social studies teachers Susie Dugovic and Alison Le who were the contest judges. Teacher Dan MacLeod was the timekeeper.  

Each of the ten Bee contestants received a Toblerone candy bar and a small squishy globe to be a symbol of their knowledge of the World.   Runner-up Kaden Paswaters and Bingham also received a National Geographic World Atlas.   In addition, Bingham received a plush three-foot Antarctic penguin.  “It was a great prize,” said Dill of the penguin.  “The kids were excited about it.”   

To proceed to the state level of the National Geographic GeoBee, Bingham will need to complete a written test created by the National Geographic Society.  He then will be invited to attend the State Bee to be held at the University of Maine at Farmington in late March.  All winners of the various state bees are then eligible to compete in the National Geographic GeoBee in Washington, D.C. from May 17-21.

WJHS Geography Bee 2020
In the photo are students who competed in the recent WJHS Geography Bee.  In the back row from the left are Olivia Boutot, Kaden Paswaters, Ryan Bingham, Jackson Koh, and Jacob Ouellet.  In the front from the left are Cole Gauthier, Sean Gilbert, Will Scott, Helen Lee, and Jack McDevitt.

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