One hundred students from across West Virginia traveled to Charleston for the West Virginia Geographic Bee on March 31, 2006. The National Geographic Society organizes the event each year and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) coordinates and hosts the state level of this nationwide contest.
After hours of answering geography questions, three students walked away with a title: 1st Place: Joshua Hamrick from Webster Springs Middle School in Webster County 2nd Place: Andrew Baker from Hedgesville Middle School in Berkeley County 3rd Place: Joseph Williams from John Adams Middle School in Kanawha County
“A geography lesson is like taking a trip around the world,” said Regina Scotchie, WVDE Social Studies Coordinator. “When a child learns geography, they are also learning social studies, economics and history.”
State Geographic Bees are the second level of the annual National Geographic Bee. The first level began last November with contests in more than 14 thousand U.S. schools, in which nearly five million students participated.
“In the 21st century, geography is more important than ever before,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “We travel farther and more often than previous generations. Global commerce is prevalent and successful businesses are required to understand the human cultures and physical geography of the regions in which they desire to do business. The more global awareness we posses, the more we will understand and accept ethnic, cultural, religious and personal differences in school, in our neighborhood, and where we work.”
The West Virginia 1st Place winner will receive $100 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D. C., with a teacher escort for the national finals. The national competition is scheduled for May 24, 2006. The national competitors will vie for a $25,000 first-place college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second and third place winners will receive $15,000 and $10,000 scholarships, respectively.
For more information regarding the West Virginia Geographic Bee, contact Regina Scotchie, WVDE Social Studies Coordinator, at (304) 558-7805.