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Geo Bee Maps Out Success at Vernon

Sixth-grade students at James H. Vernon School tested their knowledge of places around the world when they participated in a preliminary round of the National Geographic Geography (Geo) Bee, Jan. 25. The contest, open to students in grades 4-8, aims to spark students’ interest in geography, reinforce classroom geography lessons, and increase public awareness about the subject.


Nicholas (Cole) Meyer was crowned school champion after competing in a final round with runner-up Jenna Angelidakis. Cole earned the title for correctly answering, “Sweden” to the question: February 2019 marks the start of the Alpine World Ski Championships. This competition will be held in which country that is the most populist in Scandinavia?


Talia Delvalle and Joseph Laurita tied for third place. Other finalists included Tyler Rosasco, Jane Gurney, Lauren Pinnock, Brandon Antonetti, Julia Noboa and Juan Perez Pelaez. The 10 finalists received the highest scores on a 35-question, in-class assessment provided by National Geographic. Each of them was recognized with a certificate from the National Geographic Society for their participation as finalists.  Cole was awarded a certificate as school champion and a 2019 National Geo Bee medal.


Cole said that his preparation for the competition started when he was young.


“I’ve been reading geography books basically my whole life,” he said. “I have one book that I read all the time because I’m really interested in it.”


Following the preliminary contest, Cole took an online qualifying test for the statewide competition, which takes place on March 29. State Geo Bee qualifiers are announced on March 4. 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 19-22 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 three years ago as a new opportunity for students to develop their skills.


Mr. Pesqueira said the bee “provides an opportunity to expand students’ interest beyond the classroom and motivates them to work towards higher levels of success.”


Mr. Pesqueira and Mr. Youngs, as well as Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio, applauded the students’ efforts and wished Cole the best of luck in qualifying for the state contest.

Cole Meyer is geography bee champion

Displaying his certificate and medal is Vernon School Geo Bee champion Cole Meyer, center, with Principal Dr. Valerie Vacchio, 6th-grade teacher Mr. John Youngs and K-12 Social Studies Supervisor Mr. Joseph Pesqueira.

Vernon Geo Bee finalists

With National Geographic Geo Bee certificates in top row, from left, are Jane Gurney, Julia Noboa, Lauren Pinnock, Juan Perez Pelaez, and Tyler Rosasco. In front row, from left, are champion Cole Meyer, runner-up Jenna Angelidakis, third-place winners Talia Delvalle and Joseph Laurita, and finalist Brendon Antonetti.