4 Carroll students competing in geography bee's state final Winner in Annapolis will move to nationals

April 04, 1997|By Nora Koch | Nora Koch,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Quick, answer this question: The Kariba [kuh REE buh] Dam is a hydroelectric power facility on what river that forms the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe?

Need some help? Ask Matthew Coyle, Brad Dyjak, Josef Hess and Wes Shockley, all Carroll County students who are competing in the state final of the National Geography Bee at 1: 30 p.m. today at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

The answer, by the way, is the Zambezi River.

The Carroll students face equally challenging questions at the state competition. Each student completed a 70-question written examination and scored among the top 100 in Maryland.

The winner in Annapolis will advance to the national contest May 28 in Washington. The event will be televised on PBS. The national winner receives a $25,000 college scholarship.

The National Geography Bee is an annual contest that tests the knowledge of fourth- to eighth-grade students. Nearly 5 million students participated in the contest last year.

The bee, sponsored by the National Geographic Society and Sylvan Learning Center, is part of the National Geographic Society's long-term campaign to improve geography education.

"We picked fourth through eighth grades because we found that in order to inspire an interest in geography, later than eighth grade is too late, and earlier is just too soon. These are the prime ages to form a lifelong interest in geography," said Ellen Siskind, a National Geographic Society spokeswoman.

"It is extremely important for Americans of all ages to understand our world. How can we have leaders of tomorrow if they don't know where places are and understand them?" Siskind said.

Matt Coyle, 14, an eighth-grader at Mount Airy Middle School, competes in his fourth state competition today. Matt was the state champion as a fifth-grader in 1994. He placed eighth in the national competition.

"I hope to do good," Matt said. "A lot of it is luck because you can't know everything."

Brad Dyjak, 12, a sixth-grader at Oklahoma Road Middle School, participates in his second state competition today.

"It's a little bit easier to study this year because I know my weaknesses and I know what to focus on. I think this year I might do a little better," said Brad, who studies culture, boundaries and current events for about an hour each day.

Josef Hess, an eighth-grader at West Middle School in Westminster, said he isn't too nervous about his first competition.

"If I win, I win. If I lose, I lose. I'm just going to try my best," said Josef, 13, who read an entire atlas last night in preparation for today's competition.

Wes Shockley, 13, an eighth-grader at North Carroll Middle School, also is participating in his first state competition. He says he is a bit nervous, and has been studying a long time.

Pub Date: 4/04/97

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