5th-grader wins geography bee at Triadelphia

January 23, 2003

Fifth-grader Mike McNeill won Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School's first National Geography Bee on Jan. 7.

The critical question was, "Yucca Mountain is located in which state?" said fifth-grade team leader Carol Hahn, who organized the event with Principal Sue Webster. "And he knew Nevada right away, which I thought was a hard question for a 10-year-old." Yucca Mountain is the proposed site of a national repository for radioactive waste.

The National Geography Bee, offered to schools across the country by the National Geographic Society, provides rules, practice questions and an opportunity to compete statewide and nationwide. Because this is the first year that Triadelphia Ridge has participated in the program, the school chose to limit the competition to fifth-graders.

Eighteen children went to practice sessions and participated in the bee. They practiced on a computerized geography game and a board game, "like Trivial Pursuit, but with geography questions," Hahn said.

The runner-up was Eli Sperling. Emily Gerry, Michael Branthover, Nina DeCesare, Suzette Rozario, Max Potember, Nathan Coe, Eric Schultz, Challyn Bentson, Nick Oliver and Brad Carpenter competed in the final round.

Mike will take a test to qualify for the state-level competition.

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