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March 31, 2010 > Local students head to state Geography Bee

Local students head to state Geography Bee

By Miriam G. Mazliach

Yearly, thousands of schools across the country participate in the National Geographic Bee. The intent of this competition is to actively interest and involve teachers, students and the public with geography and increase awareness of the world around them. Interested schools must register with the National Geographic Society (NGS) at the beginning of the school year. The event is open to students in grades four through eight.

According to Manga Subramaniam, a parent volunteer who along with Honors History teacher John Wells helped to coordinate the Thornton Junior High Geography Bee, there is a set format for participation.

"At the beginning of the school year, principals must send in a request for participation, written on school letterhead," says Subramaniam. "The National Geographic Society sends back a registration packet. In Fremont, we're lucky that participating schools turn in their completed forms to FUSD, which pays the $70 registration fee per school and then mails them to the National Geographic Society."

Schools receive a packet containing contest guidelines and materials. Individual schools then hold their competitions between November 9 and January 15.

The winning student at each school, under supervised conditions, takes a written test provided by the NGS. By the January 31 deadline, the completed test must be received by the National Geographic Society to correct and score.

The top 100 state finalists and their teachers are sent notifications in March. These are the local finalists from our area who are heading on to the State Geographic Bee, to be held in Sacramento on Friday, April 9:

Trisha Agrawal, 7th grade, Thornton Junior High School, Fremont
Isaac Y Hung, 8th grade, Horner Junior High School, Fremont
Anirudh Kumar 7th grade, Challenger School-Ardenwood, Newark
Varun Mahadevan, 5th grade, Prince of Peace Lutheran School, Fremont
Praveen R. Nair, 4th grade, Mission San Jose Elementary, Fremont
Sarosh R. Vachha, 8th grade, Hopkins Junior High School, Fremont

Subramaniam explains, "Finalists and their teachers have to get to Sacramento on their own for the competition. No funds are provided for that."

Across the country, all state finals are held simultaneously on the morning of Friday, April 9.

In Sacramento, students will be divided into large rooms holding five groups of 20 students for the initial elimination rounds of questions. When the final 10 students remain, they will move on to the Championship phase held on stage. The elimination final lasts until one champion is named who will then go on to the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. on May 25 - 26.

Top prize for the State Bee winner is $100, a World Atlas and an all expenses paid trip for the student and his/her teacher to the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. The top 3 finishers nationally will receive scholarships in the amount of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000.

Stephen F. Cunha, State Coordinator for the competition says, "These kids are so knowledgeable about the world around them and their curiosity is inspiring. To watch them in action makes me hopeful about the future of America."

State Finals of National Geographic Bee
Friday, April 9
8:30 a.m.
Consumnes River College
8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento
(916) 691-7344
www.crc.losrios.edu

State Coordinator: Stephen F. Cunha
(707) 826-4975
sc10@humboldt.edu

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