Nine Middle School students participated in the school's National Geographic GeoBee on Friday, Jan. 4. The winner was Ben Pataki '24 (right), and the runner-up was Malachi Ogwangi '24.
Students competed first in their history, geography and humanities classes, providing oral responses to seven questions, with the highest-scoring students moving on to the divisionwide competition.
"I have always been interested in geography and the world around me, as well as reading and asking questions about geography," Ben said. "I acquired some of my knowledge of map locations from my World Geography class, as well as asking my dad questions about geography. He also often quizzes me on a location we would be talking about or visiting, which I liked because it broadened my understanding of that place."
The bee is a rigorous test of knowledge. Students are asked about state capitals and have to identify places based on a description of primary animals, weather, physical features, holidays, resources, history and more. Students prepare by reviewing GeoBee publications and online resources, studying maps and taking advantage of teachers' materials.
"There was a question about where eucalyptus trees grow," Malachi remembered. "I could have said Asia, because they could have been in Asia, but I thought for a while that koalas eat eucalyptus trees and they live in Australia. So I answered Australia, and it was the correct answer! That enabled me to be the runner-up in the school GeoBee!"
"This year they added a new category, the GeoBee Impact Challenge, which tests critical thinking skills and students' ability to apply geographic knowledge to real-world scenarios," Middle School World Geography teacher Greg Anysz said. "Participants had to look at a map and pick the best place for a community garden to be built."
The GeoBee was developed by the National Geographic Society in 1988 to promote geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. Students in grades four through eight from nearly 10,000 schools nationwide compete for a chance to win college scholarships.
School champions will take a proctored online qualifying test, with the top 100-ranked students in each state qualifying for the state level GeoBee competition. State champions then travel to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to compete in the national championship.
"Ravenscroft students are very fortunate to participate in a geography curriculum," Anysz said. "I can see the difference that geography education makes in the lives of our students: they are more knowledgeable about world events, understand the relationships between places and events and are more compassionate about their world."
Ravens who in previous years have gone on to the state level include Eleanor Campbell '20 (2015 and 2016), Owen McGinnis '22 (2017) and Davis Anderson '22 (2018).
Congratulations to all of the students who qualified for and participated in the Middle School competition:
Rudy Addison '23
Jackson Gring '23
Yogin Patel '23
Malachi Ogwangi '24
Autumn Campbell '24
Ben Pataki '24
Zach Peverall '25
Ruffin Poole '25
Emma Idler '25