Ox Ridge School recently conducted a geography bee for fourth and fiftth grade students.  Frank Hu (fourth grader in Mrs. Rongoe’s class) was the winner, outlasting the runner-up Harry Whitney (fifth grader in Mr. O’Connor’s class). Kate Massey (4th grade Ms. Sproch’s class) was the third-place finisher. Kate’s brother Will also competed, which marked the first time two siblings had competed against one another in our Ox Ridge School bee.

Frank now gets to take a test that will determine whether he qualifies for the state geography bee competition in a few months. There is also a national geography bee as well for state winners. All of the competitions are sponsored by the National Geographic Society with the goal of promoting geographic education.

Ox Ridge fourth and fifth grade teachers helped administer this week’s Bee, with assistance from Mrs. Barbara Ivey, longtime Geography Bee coordinator for Darien Public Schools. We also had a special guest at this year’s competition: Michael Borecki, a recent Darien High School graduate who previously won the Connecticut State Geography Bee three times and also was a finalist on the Jeopardy! Teen tournament in 2016.

Gavin Murphy, a fourth grade student at Pear Tree Point School, won the school-level competition of the National Geographic Geography Bee last Wednesday. At PTPS, after classroom preliminary rounds, nine fourth and fifth grade students competed in an elimination round by answering questions about a full range of geographic knowledge including U.S. and world geography and map reading.

After many rounds and many ties, Gavin became the school champion by correctly answering the question “Iowa and Missouri both share long boundaries with what other state on the Mississippi River?” Gavin knew the state was Illinois. Fourth grader Spencer Upson was runner up while Ellie Levinson, Xindi Liu and Brady Smith tied for second runner up.

As winner Gavin will take a written test to see if he is among the hundred students who move on to the state competition. The state winner is provided an all-expense paid trip by the National Geographic Society to compete at the national championship in Washington D.C. in May for a grand prize of $50,000.

Hindley School geography bee winner, Roman Gagliardi, pictured here with Mr. O'Neill, who organized the event.

Rowan Levine took the top prize at Tokeneke School’s recent geography bee.

Fifth graders — Tyler Spellman, back row, from left, Lucas Llovera, Katelyn Erdlen and Anna Ventker; Fourth graders — Oliver Lefkowitz, front left, Max Brown, winner Rowan Levine and Ian Moffatt.