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    Vernon Students Map Out Success at Geography Bee

  • Students at James H. Vernon School joined thousands of students across the nation in testing their knowledge of places around the globe when they participated in a preliminary round of the National Geographic Geography Bee. The contest, open to students in grades four through eight, is designed to spark students’ interest in the geography, encourage teachers to include geography in their lessons, and increase public awareness about the subject.

    Vernon sixth grader Jack Iocolano was crowned champion of the school after a tie-breaking round with fellow classmate and runner-up Brendan O’Brien. Jack broke the tie by correctly answering “Ecuador” to the question, “What is the smallest and most densely populated country in South America?” Also competing in the final round before family and friends were sixth graders Christopher Villegas, Jayden Marshall, Callaway Treble, Alexander (Sasha) Osypenko, Sebastian Aquilino, Ava DeAngelis, Franchesca Alejo, Whitney (Georgie) Willard, Oliver Keczmer, Nicholas Ramirez and William Henry.  These students received the highest scores on a 35-question, in-class assessment provided by National Geographic. They were recognized with  certificates from the National Geographic Society for their participation as finalists. Jack was awarded a certificate as school champion and a 2018 National Geographic Bee medal.

    Jack said about his win, “I was always good at maps. In third grade when we were learning about the 50 states, I learned all the capitals of the states on my own, and started memorizing where everything was on the map. I really enjoy it.”

    Jack recently took an online qualifying test, making him one step closer to meeting the criteria for the state competition on April 6. If he advances, he will compete against 100 of the highest-scoring students in a state. The winner of the state bee will advance to the national championship at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on May 15-17 for a chance to win college scholarships. The National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will broadcast the championship at 8 pm EDT.

    Vernon’s school-level bee was conducted by sixth grade teacher Mr. John Youngs and K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira, both of whom introduced the bee to the school two years ago as a new opportunity for students to develop their skills.

    “The Geography Bee is a well-designed enhancement to our social studies curriculum and aligns with our District goal of providing new opportunities for student growth.,” Mr. Pesqueira said. “We are excited to see our students embrace this competition and work towards new levels of success.”

    Mr. Youngs added, “We applaud all of our students who have challenged themselves by participating in this bee and for the efforts they put in to expanding their knowledge of geography. We wish Jack good luck with qualifying for the state level.”

  • geo bee winners

    Vernon School Geography Bee champion Jack Iocolano, center, with runner-up Brendan O’Brien, Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio, sixth grade teacher Mr. John Youngs and K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira.

    geo bee finalists

    Vernon students display the certificates they received as finalists in the school level National Geography Bee.

    geo tiebreaker

    Mr. Youngs reads the tie-breaking question to the last two finalists.

    principal congratulates finalists

    Dr. Vacchio congrautlates all of the finalists.

    Mr. Youngs shakes runner-up's hand

    Mr. Youngs shakes the hand of runner-up Brendan O’Brien. 

    Mr. Youngs with geo winner

    Mr. Youngs congratulates school champion Jack Iocolano.


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