Kids get ready for Bee

April 04, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

Eight Washington County students have been studying maps and thinking of faraway places this week as they prepare for the Maryland Geography Bee on Friday.

They will be among 100 students in grades four through eight competing at Montgomery College's Germantown, Md., campus to represent Maryland at the National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., on May 23-24. Alex Trebek of "Jeopardy!" will host the bee.

Daniel Yildirim, an eighth-grader at Northern Middle School, has been studying maps. Yildirim, 13, has traveled around the United States and Turkey, but would like to go to Europe.

Home-schooled student Sarah Keely, 12, of Hagerstown, said her travels, including a recent trip to the southwest states, could help her during the competition.


"I sort of picture myself there when I study. It's neat seeing how different people do different things. It's like exploring," said Keely, who won the geography bee at Broadfording Christian Academy.

Keely, who's traveled around the continental United States and Canada, wants to visit Egypt.

Josh Carson, 12, and Jordan Kisiel, 14, want to visit Australia.

The sparsely populated areas, desert and animals interest Kisiel, an eighth-grader at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

Its uniqueness intrigues Carson, a seventh-grader at Smithsburg Middle School.

Drew Shifler returned last month from his first overseas trip, to Sicily, where his sister is stationed with the Navy.

"I can't wait to go back again," said Shifler, 13, an eighth-grader at Boonsboro Middle School.

The students aren't relying on their travels alone.

Shifler is studying 30 years worth of National Geographic magazines on a compact disc.

Carson is using the Internet and computer games.

Home-schooled student Ben Martin, 14, of Brightwood Acres, is reading about exotic places.

The students advanced to the state geography bee by winning bees at their schools, or in Martin's case, by winning the home school competition, and then getting one of the top 100 scores in the state on a written test.

The winner of the state bee will receive prizes, including $100 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the finals with a teacher escort.

The top three winners at the finals will receive college scholarships, with the first place finisher getting a $25,000 scholarship.

Traveling isn't the only cool thing about geography.

"I like geography because it helps you learn about the earth and everything on the earth," said Pangborn Elementary fifth-grader Soumon Rudra, 9, who wants to be an astronomer.

Chuck Osborne, 13, an eighth-grader at Clear Spring Middle School, said he studies geography to learn about places he hasn't been and for the history.

This will be the second trip to the state bee for Osborne and Kisiel.

Internet users can test their geographic knowledge by taking National Geographic's GeoBee Challenge at

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