Cranbury School crowns new Geography Bee champion


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Cranbury School sixth grader Angela Chen became the school’s 2020 Geography Bee champion.

She secured the top spot in the annual competition.

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Cranbury’s competition finished with eighth grader Anika Hadap in second place and eighth grader Christopher Lin in third place on Jan. 10.

“The Georgraphy Bee has been going on for a long time. I would say more than 13 years,” said Sara Fernandez, organizer and Cranbury School Social Studies teacher. “The finals used to not be a big assembly, but this change has made this more exciting for participants and the student body.”

She said normally the winner of the school’s competition has been an eighth grader.

“The fact that Angela has won is super exciting. I will say what is also exciting is that we have not had two girls in the final championship round,” Fernandez said. “It has been many years since we have had a girl champion.”

The school competition is part of the National Geographic GeoBee contest, which is an annual competition that has state champions compete to become National Geographic GeoBee Champion, according to National Geographic Society officials.

The national GeoBee has three levels of competition: school, state and national.

Students in grades four through eight also compete to win college scholarships.

Angela has until Feb. 7 to complete the online state GeoBee qualifying test.

“Every champion in every school that participates in this competition takes the state online test. The state scores it and if Angela qualifies they will let us know,” Fernandez said. “She will then compete at Rowan University.”

Angela will then find out on March 2 if she has qualified. All qualifiers will announced at that time.

If Angela qualifies she will head to the state GeoBee competition. The winner from the state competition will compete in the National Championship in Washington, D.C.

Cranbury School Social Studies teachers Fernandez and Danielle Burke organized 2020’s competition.

Social Studies classes held 13 preliminary rounds from fifth through eighth grade. The rounds resulted in 13 finalists for the school championship. The champion from each class competed in the Cranbury School auditorium.

Student finalists were each eliminated after getting two questions wrong pertaining to national and world geography in the first seven rounds.

The final two consisted of Angela and Anika, who would compete in the final round with a clean slate.

After a tie breaker round, Angela was crowned school champion.

“I really hope these students understand that we are part of a global community and that they take an interest in our world; geographically, culturally, politically and socially,” Fernandez said. “We are all global citizens and the national Geography Bee really shows that.”

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