Hampstead seventh-grader has the world on a string

January 10, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Knowing where things are in the world won Adam Harris the North Carroll Middle School geography bee Friday morning.

The prospect of moving on to state competition April 2 loomed in Adam's mind.

"I was pretty nervous here," he said as people walked up to congratulate him. Adam, 12, is a seventh-grader and the son of Joni Harris of Hampstead. "I'm just trying to calm down now."

After about two hours, Adam had made it to the finals with sixth-grader Greg Daut.

The competition came down to five tough questions. Greg missed all of them, and Adam missed all but one, but that was enough to make him champion out of the 24 who began in the first round.

Adam's winning answer was to this question: In 1992, the number of countries on the Balkan peninsula doubled as the result of the breakup of which Eastern European nation?

At first, he wrote down "Soviet Union," but before the time was up, changed his answer to "Yugoslavia," which was the correct answer.

"I remembered it said 'peninsula,' and 'Eastern Europe,' " he said, two clues that told him to change his answer to "Yugoslavia."

Since there is no countywide bee, Carroll County middle schools that sponsor bees send their winners directly to the state competition. There is one catch: The school winners must take a written test and score among the top 100.

Greg Daut came close to tying with Adam in that final round, which would have led, of course, to a tie-breaker round. Greg, 11, is the son of Don and Janet Daut of Manchester.

On the question about which Canadian province would be most affected by a two-year Canadian ban on northern cod fishing, Greg answered "St. John's," which was wrong -- sort of. The answer was "Newfoundland," but St. John's is the capital of Newfoundland, noted judge David Knight, a counselor at the school and former social studies teacher.

Adam did not answer the cod fishing question correctly, either. He said "Ontario," which seemed to be the answer students gave for questions about Canada.

"I don't know much about Canada," admitted Jeff Painter, a seventh-grader and son of Kate and Al Painter of Finksburg.

Jeff came in third and was eliminated in the penultimate round. He was done in by a question about which Canadian province was home to Ukrainian wheat farmer immigrants.

The correct answer was "Saskatchewan," which only Greg Daut got right. Who could blame Jeff for guessing "Ontario?"

Not all the questions in the bee were difficult. The bee starts out with easy questions and moves on to tougher ones, said David Renaut, a teacher who coordinated the bee.

"You don't want them to come here and not get any questions right," he said. "It's demoralizing."

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