WEST BOUNTIFUL – You needed to know which state had horse racing and which state had trout fishing to have a chance to win this contest. And it helped if you knew what chain of volcanic islands lies west of Alaska and what river runs between Argentina and Chile.
In the end, Carlie Sandberg got enough of the answers right to take first place in the Geography Bee at West Bountiful Elementary last week and Cayden Wooten took second.
Students in fourth through sixth grades competed for the chance to participate, according to organizer Michael Whitten, who teaches third grade at school.
Ten winners from each of the 10 classes took to the stage in front of their classmates, to try and qualify for the next round of competition. Other participants were Hunter Wild, Hannah Anderson, Konner Larson, Brooklyn White, Chance McKean, Isaac Jensen, Bridge Jensen and Jackson Call.
Sandberg and other winners at the individual school level will take a written test for the chance to participate in a state competition at Thanksgiving Point. The competition for a national winner takes place in Washington, D.C.
Once she learned about the school’s geography bee, Carlie used her time during recess and her spare time at home, to learn more about geography on a national and international level, she said.
“I think we need to have an awareness of the world around us,” said Whitten. “The world is being more and more connected. These things help us learn how we can relate. We need to help kids and adults to become more aware.”
Eric Benson, an engineer at Holly Refinery who volunteered to judge the competition, was impressed by the students’ knowledge of geography.
“They did really well, especially when under the pressure of being in front of a large group,” he said. Benson joked that he was glad he had the answer key during the contest. “Some of those questions were pretty tough,” he said.