Do you know which southern U.S. state located in a region explored by France in the late 1600s was named after a French king? Or how about the name of the Asian country that is the Taklamakan desert home of the Uyghur people, located north of the Kunlun mountains?
These we’re just a couple of the questions the 10 semi-finalists had to answer as part of the Edgartown School geography bee held Thursday morning. The answers are Louisiana and China, by the way.
Eighth grader Jackson Crocker, 13, knew the answers and took home the gold medal, and a chance to win geography bee glory in Washington, D.C., in May.
Modest about his big win Thursday, Jackson said he was excited and a bit surprised at his success.
“I didn’t think I would win, I thought Spencer [runner up Spencer Pogue] would,” Jackson told The Times. Asked what he did to prepare for the bee, modesty again prevailed.
“I didn’t do much,” he said. “I just have a good memory.”
Jackson now has the opportunity to take a written test in order to qualify as one of the top 100 geography students in the state.
Each state winner is invited to Washington in May for the national finals, where he or she will compete for a $25,000 grand prize scholarship, awarded by the National Geographic Society.
As a prelude to the school event, students in grades four through eight took part in classroom geography bees to determine Thursday’s ten semifinalists. The school-wide competition held in the gymnasium, was attended by students, teachers and a few proud parents.
Nancy Cole, the school librarian, served as the bee’s moderator. Head custodian Mike Lynch and Edgartown School treasurer Pamela Cassidy served as judges.
Jackson received a medal and a certificate of championship. His name will be engraved on a plaque listing past winners that hangs in the school lobby.
He also received a large atlas, as did the other competitors,including fourth graders Ashley Brasefield and Bethany Cordoza; fifth graders Desiree London and Dylan Burke; sixth graders Spencer Pogue and Gregory Pyden; seventh graders Matheus Brito and Hollis Kelly; and eighth grader Audrey McCarron.
Jackson said he would put the atlas to good use and get busy preparing for the next level of competition.