Question: Where in Arizona can you find many of Arizona’s brightest geography students? Answer: The East Valley.
Of the 100 students who competed in the Arizona Geographic Bee on Friday, 42 of the fourth- through eighth-grade contestants are from the East Valley, including second- and third-place finishers Joseph Peterson and Eric Juarez.
Joseph, a sixth-grader from Scottsdale Christian Academy, just missed the title after incorrectly answering where the world’s highest hotel rooms were located. He guessed Taipei. The correct answer was Shanghai.
“I’ll just have to keep studying and trying hard for next year,” said Joseph, who finished fourth in the bee two years ago and seventh last year.
Nathan Tappendorf, a sixthgrade, home-schooled student from Phoenix, won the bee. He will travel to Washington, D.C., on May 23 to participate in the national competition hosted by Alex Trebek with a chance to win a $25,000 scholarship. More than 5 million students competed in the geography bee.
Eric, a sixth-grader from Mountainside Middle School in Scottsdale, claimed third place after a tiebreaker. He correctly identified the Delaware River as the one that runs through Trenton, N.J. It was the first time Eric qualified for the finals in three years at the bee, but he’s already looking toward next year.
“I want to win it,” he said.
Joseph and Eric didn’t walk away empty-handed. Both received globes and checks for $75 and $50.
Michael Fay, Joseph’s teacher, said students in his class went crazy when they heard the news of his second-place finish.
“They were cheering and just ecstatic,” Fay said. “But we had a feeling he’d do well because he loves maps and always carries around an atlas with him at his side.”
Three other East Valley students also made the bee’s top 10, outlasting 90 other contestants in the morning rounds. In the finals, the “terrific ten” were asked questions that showed their ability to correctly identify state mottoes and U.S. rivers.
The finals also included a perfect round. The contestants all correctly answered questions about countries in the European Union and identified them on a blank map.
Top East Valley finishers
Rank, student, school 2. Joseph Peterson, Scottsdale Christian Academy 3. Eric Juarez, Mountainside Middle School, Scottsdale 5. (tie) Raymond Humbert, Pueblo Middle School, Chandler 5. (tie) Michael Ferrante, Rhodes Junior High School, Mesa
Geographic Bee question
Q. In August 2006, the city of Dire Dawa was flooded by the Dejatu River, killing about 300 people. Dire Dawa is located in which country located on the horn of Africa?
How do you stack up?
To meet six Arizona Geographic Bee finalists from the East Valley in an online audio slide show, and to test your geography prowess as they read sample questions, visit www.eastvalleytribune.com/geography.