Andrew Hull takes Geographic Bee by storm
For the second year in a row, Andrew Hull, 11, of Anchorage took top honors at the Alaska state-level Geographic Bee held Friday in Anchorage.
Hull, a sixth grader at Rogers Park Elementary School, prepared for the competition by studying facts he wrote on index cards. He said he loves geography because it lets you know where things are in the world. "If somebody tells you a funny fact you know where it happened," he said. Hull credited his family with helping him prepare for the bee, especially his older brother Arthur Hull who also was a top 10 finalist.
When Mayor Dan Sullivan congratulated Hull he said, "Haven't we done this before?" Sullivan said the demonstration of knowledge at the competition is a tribute to the school system and parents. In Friday's opening remarks, Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau said, "I can't think of anything more important for young people to know than geography. You can't discuss issues if you don't know where people live."
Bee coordinator Marti Wynn said, "We are very proud to have the brightest young geographers here." She said 21 of the state's 53 school districts were represented in the competition. "There are students from 38 elementary schools, 27 middle schools, seven faith-based schools, eight home schools, two junior-senior high schools, five specialty schools, five K-12 rural schools and eight charter schools," Wynn said. "Our teachers are doing a good job teaching geography."
KTUU TV anchor Jackie Purcell, who moderated the event, said, "The geography bee gives us a chance to get to know our planet better."
Throughout the day, students answered questions about physical and cultural geography, sometimes using maps or looking at a projection of Google Earth, sometimes writing their answers on a pad and sometimes calling out the correct choice between two options. By the final round, the answers are open-ended.
Hull received $100, the "Complete National Geographic on DVD" and the honor of representing Alaska in the National Geographic Bee May 22-24 in Washington, D.C. Last year he made it to the top 10 round.
The 100 students in the state bee qualified by winning their school bee and passing a written examination. The bee is sponsored by National Geographic Society, Google and Plum Creek. The UA Geography Program, Alaska Geographic Alliance and numerous social studies teachers facilitated the event.
First prize in the national competition is a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. The national winner earns a trip to the Galapagos Islands. The national bee will be televised on May 24 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time Zone.