On February 2nd before a large audience of students, staff and several parents in the WJHS Ward Gymnasium, eighth-grade student Natalie Hanagan matched wits with nine competitors to emerge as the winner of the school-level competition in the National Geographic Bee.
For close to an hour, 10 students answered questions on geography in what was the first round of the 29th National Geographic Bee sponsored by the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C. These ten students were the highest scorers in earlier geography bees held in the school’s various social studies classrooms.
Eighth-grade student Jaiden Greaves became the runner-up to Hanagan and therefore a standby for her should she not be able to attend the state level of competition on March 31st at the University of Maine in Farmington.
“This year's bee was very successful and exciting,” commented sixth grade teacher and Bee organizer/ questioner, Bonnie Dill, who added, “…the competition was fierce, stretching into several rounds. The crowd was silent while competitors ‘deep thought’ each question. When correct answers were given, cheers erupted from the bleachers.”
Prizes for all 10 included a certificate of achievement, a globe bouncy ball and a Swiss chocolate Toblerone bar. “This tasty prize,” Dill commented about the chocolate, is “to symbolize a sweet success”. Hanagan and Greaves also received a life-sized penguin stuffed animal and a reference book. In addition, Hanagan received a copy of the National Geographic Student World Atlas, in part, to prepare for the next level. Those who win at the state level will be invited to Washington D.C. in May to compete in the national championship portion of the contest at the National Geographic Society. Prizes include a $50,000 scholarship.
Judges for the WJHS Bee included teachers Susan Dugovic and Bruce Pelqouin. The timekeeper was Dan MacLeod.
According to nationalgeographic.org, “The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world.” According to Wikipedia the National Geographic Society “is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world.”
From left to right are Brody Maxon (6th gr), James Wirths (7th gr), Indie Brogan (6th gr), Tanner Douglas (7th gr), Isabel Martin (8th gr), Jaiden Greaves (8th gr and first runner up), Natalie Hanagan (8th gr. and school geography champion), Anna Franks (7th gr and an alternate in the WJHS Geographic Bee), Camden Sevigney (7th gr), Auggie Ciorra (7th gr) and Jackson Koh (5th gr).
Natalie Hanagan (left) and Bonnie Dill
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