Do you know where an ice road stretches across the frozen surface of the sea, connecting this European country’s coastline to a nearby island?
Can you deduce where in the world purple bees pollinate orchids?
In what African country did a notable peaceful transfer of power take place at the end of 2017?
Sixty-five school geography champions may have come across these facts and more as they prepared for the Delaware state National Geographic Bee, held on Friday, April 6 at University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall in Newark. These students in grades four through eight represented public, independent and religious schools across the state.
Many contenders were first-time representatives of their schools. Others had been to the state bee before, like 8th-grader Cameron Hood of Smyrna Middle School. Appearing in 2016, she said knowing the drill definitely helped her feel more relaxed coming into the 2018 competition. She prepared by watching YouTube videos on geography.
Matthew Kaser, an eighth-grader representing Wilmington Christian School in Hockessin, made his third appearance in the event, having placed eighth in 2015 and fifth in 2017. He met his goal of improving by tying for fourth place overall.
Edrick Ndirangu, in the fourth grade at Brick Mill Elementary School in Middletown, was one of the youngest competitors. He explained that studying geography is important “to understand the problems of the world and get to know the world better.”
Jeremiah Rayban, a seventh-grader attending Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington, agreed. “Geography is one of the subjects most applicable to daily life, whether you’re going somewhere or looking at the news.”
Jeremiah, who prepared using an atlas and Wikipedia, went on to become state champion in a tie-breaker round. He will represent Delaware in the National Bee, to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
Agni Miraji-Khot, in seventh grade at Alfred G Waters Middle School in Middletown, finished second, and Anna Nguyen placed third overall. Anna is in the sixth grade at John Bassett Moore Intermediate School in Smyrna.
Dr. David Legates of the Delaware Geographic Alliance coordinates Delaware’s state bee. “Studying geography is important to everything that goes on,” Legates explained. “Everything is global now, from the clothes you wear that have been made in another country to the news. There can be an earthquake halfway around the world; you turn on your TV and it’s in your living room. It’s important to know how different countries approach things—the different dynamics and political systems at work.” Oh, and those answers? Estonia, Guyana, and Liberia. How’d you do?
Learn more about the Delaware state National Geographic Bee at https://sites.google.com/site/delawarestatebee/general-information.
Catherine Hoffman Kaser is a freelance writer/editor with Write to the Point.