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Vernon Crowns Geography Bee Champ

Sixth-grade students at James H. Vernon School challenged their knowledge of places around the globe when they participated in a preliminary round of the National Geographic Geography (Geo) Bee, Jan. 24. The competition, open to students in grades 4-8, reinforces classroom geography lessons, sparks greater interest in geography, and spreads public awareness about the subject.


Padraig (Paddy) Doran was crowned school champion after correctly answering, “New York” to the question: The Erie Canal, originally constructed in the 1820s, forms part of the canal system in which northeastern state? 


Joseph Henry was runner up and Joseph’s brother, George, took third place. Other finalists included Mia Bencal, Kristen Caldwell Cea, Christian (CJ) Noboa, Quinn Rainey, Madison Sussi, Connor O’Brien and Talene Mastacciuola. The 10 finalists 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.  As the winner, Paddy was also awarded a 2020 National Geo Bee medal.


Paddy will take an online qualifying test for the statewide competition, which takes place on March 27. State Geo Bee qualifiers will be announced on March 2. If he qualifies, he will compete against 100 of the highest-scoring students in the state. The state bee winner will advance to the national championship at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on May 17-21 for a chance to win a college scholarship.


Vernon’s school-level bee was conducted by 6th-grade teacher Mr. John Youngs and K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira, both of whom introduced the bee to the school four years ago as a new opportunity to expand students’ interest beyond the classroom and motivate them to work towards higher levels of success.


Mr. Pesqueira and Mr. Youngs, as well as Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio, congratulated all the students for their efforts and wished Paddy the best of luck in qualifying for the state contest.

2020 geo bee winner  geo bee runner up

Displaying their certificates are Vernon School Geo Bee champion Padraig (Paddy) Doran, right,  and runner up Joseph Henry with 6th-grade teacher Mr. John Youngs and Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio.