The SCSU campus was flooded with middle school students on the afternoon of Friday, April 1st for the annual National Geographic Bee. The event—affectionately known as “the Bee” by its participants—saw a crowd of over 100 young geography whizzes from all over the state.
The participants in the bee were between fourth and eighth grade. Yet, despite their age, the contestants were asked a variety of world geography questions ranging from geographic locations to international current events. The top ten students who won in the preliminary round had to maintain their composure as they answered in front of a panel of judges as their loved ones watched quietly from the crowd.
Shreyas Varathan, the 2015 Minnesota state winner, delivered a speech before the final round. He encouraged the participants to try their hardest, and to continue their career in geography even if they lose. Throughout his speech he stressed the importance of geography in education.
“It’s important to spread the awareness of geography because it teaches you about different cultures around the world,” he said. “This year was really deep and really competitive. I feel happy for the finalists and how they’ve done.”
The finale of the competition was center stage in Ritsche Auditorium. The top competitors had 15 seconds to answer each question correctly and were eliminated once they answered two incorrectly. The final three took first through third place were announced at the very end in front of their peers.
Lucas Eggers, a seventh-grader from STAR Academy Homeschool in Rochester, saw the competition through to the end, taking home first place. His trophy was accompanied by $100 and a trip to Washington D.C. to represent Minnesota in the national finals May 22-25.
Eggers wasn’t alone in his victory. His parents stood by proudly as he posed for pictures with his peers. Eggers stresses the importance of geography, looking forward to representing his home state in D.C. and continuing his own education in the field.