Rectory’s Second Annual Geographic Bee


Rectory’s first Geographic Bee was introduced in 2014 by history teacher Mrs. Jaime Haines “to stimulate enthusiasm for the geography of our world (Mrs. Haines).” Our second annual Geographic Bee was held on January 16, 2015. The testing for the candidates began in our 4th- through 8th-grade history classrooms in mid-November, 2014. The selected candidates, who all had to pass the qualifying test in their respective history classes, were: 5th grader Elaine O.; 6th graders Isaac D. and Jackson M.; 7th graders Alexander G., Alex P., and Ellie S.; and 8th graders Luke L., Helen H., Min C., and Eli S.. All of Rectory’s history teachers were also involved. On the day of the Bee, each of them took a position on the panel: Mrs. Haines as the moderator; Mr. McCarthy as the scorekeeper; Miss Fluckiger and Mrs. King-Rodman as the judges; Mrs. Leveque as the rule checker; and Mr. Barker as the time keeper.

These are some of the questions that were asked in this year’s school Bee:

  1. To see an acrobatics show in Beijing and walk along the Great Wall, you would travel to what country? Answer: China
  2. To bike around Stanley Park in Vancouver and see the northern lights near Yellowknife, you would travel to what country? Answer: Canada
  3. To take a rain forest tour and dance at Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival celebration, you would travel to what country? Answer: Brazil
  4. The first successful airplane flight, at Kill Devil Hills, is commemorated on the quarter of which state—North Carolina or Iowa? Answer: North Carolina
  5. To walk in Lisbon’s Alfama district and to stay at a beach resort in the Algarve, you would travel to what country? Answer: Portugal

Despite these challenging questions, sixth grader Jackson M. ended up winning the contest. This meant that he would represent Rectory at the state Bee on March 27th. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a sixth-grade student, but Jackson was up for the challenge. His geography/history teacher, Mrs. Haines, said that Jackson “was determined to do the best he could at the state Bee and prepared daily for the event.”

According to Mrs. Haines, Jackson’s opponents at the Connecticut Bee were 100 other 4th-8th grade students from across the state. “The competition was fierce, and the questions were challenging. Competitors had to pull knowledge from the fields of physical geography, political geography, culture, current events, economics, history, and human engineering pertaining to the entire world, not just the United States. Jackson completed both the preliminary and a second round to determine the top ten finalists. He answered only one question incorrectly and placed 15th in the entire competition (Mrs. Haines)!” Wow! Congratulations, Jackson! It sounds like all your preparation really paid off. Everyone here at Rectory is very proud of you!

Each state winner advances to the national Bee, held on May 11 through 13 in Washington, D.C. While Jackson received small prizes, a certificate, and “The National Geographic Bee Ultimate Fact Book” when he finished first at The Rectory Bee, the national winner will receive a large college scholarship fund, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Jackson is already looking forward to competing in next year’s Bee, where his goal is to win the state Bee and advance to the nationals. The year after that, when he will be in 8th grade, he wants to be the national champion! Those are quite lofty goals, Jackson, but with your track record, we think you can do it!

We are also very proud of Mrs. Haines’s initiative to teach the Rectory community that “geography is more than just reading a map and memorizing facts” and that “Geography is about us!” Her hard work in organizing the Rectory Geographic Bees and getting the students interested in studying geography has been quite effective and has resulted in a very exciting experience for the entire school. We are looking forward to next year’s Geographic Bee at Rectory, and we challenge all students to start hitting the geography books to prepare. The world is getting smaller every day, so it’s helpful to learn as much as you can about all of your neighbors, both national and international. And, as President Obama said about geography when asked about the 2012 National Geographic Bee, “… And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.” (courtesy of the National Geographic Society)