Five out of seven registered Darien schools have hosted their school-level National Geographic Geography Bee in hopes of sending their winners off to the state competition in the spring.
The competition is open to students in fourth through eighth grades and is designed to generate interest in and public awareness of geography through questions focusing on the U.S. and world and map reading. This year's bee kicked off on Nov. 12 with thousands of schools around the United States and five U.S. territories participating.
Fifth-grader Jackson Hart won this year's Geography Bee at Ox Ridge School. He received a certificate, medal and a National Geographic Kids Atlas Magazine. Hart's win qualifies him to take a test to determine if he's eligible for the state competition.
Fifth-graders Riya Krishnan placed second and Will Hamson placed third out of the 10 participants at Ox Ridge.
Tokeneke School had representatives from fourth and fifth grade in its annual bee.
Nicholas Derby was the champion at Tokeneke, meaning that he qualifies to see if he, too, can compete at the state level. The runners-up for Tokeneke were Greta Hoffmeister, Ian Holly, Ian McCarthy, Maya Nalawade and Tala Garcia.
At Pear Tree Point School, fourth-grader Brinkley Blum won. She and six other finalists from grades four, five and six competed in the first elimination round.
Blum's question was "The Yaghan were a nomadic tribe indigenous to Tierra del Fuego, an island group that is divided between Argentina and what other country?" Blum knew the country was Chile. The two runners-up were Zachary Blake and Aidan Helfant.
At Middlesex Middle School, eighth-grader Michael Borecki won for the third year in a row. Borecki's mastery of geographic facts has earned him tremendous success, as he also placed first when he was a fourth- and fifth-grader at Hindley.
In addition, for the past four years, Borecki has placed in the top 10 at the Connecticut State Geographic Bee, and in 2011 and 2012, Borecki became the state champion. He represented Connecticut at the national level in Washington, D.C.
Hart, Derby, Blum, Kehrli and Borecki, as well as the winners from Holmes and Royle schools, will now take a written test to qualify for the state-level competition. Up to 100 of the top scorers in each state will be eligible to compete in the state Bee on April 5.
The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the state champions and teacher escorts to participate in the national championship from May 20 to 22. "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek will moderate the national finals on May 22.
The first-place national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society, and a trip to the Galapagos Islands, courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.
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