Seventh grader Spencer Pogue won Edgartown School’s National Geographic Society 2015 geography bee on Tuesday, Feb. 3. The long-awaited bee, rescheduled twice due to snowstorms, featured Spencer and nine other winners from classroom bees previously held in grades four through eight.
The final round of the hourlong competition pitted Spencer against eighth grader Hollis Kelly. Both answered the first two questions correctly. Spencer emerged the victor by correctly answering the final question.
The other classroom winners who competed included eighth grader Hunter Cleary, seventh grader Catherine Cherry, sixth graders Ethan Creato and Brant Maynard, fifth graders Sara Creato and Brendan Donnelly, and fourth graders Julia Murray and Caroline Kelleher.
In a phone conversation with The Times this week, Spencer said he was surprised he won. He said he has always really liked geography, and has studied it a lot over the years.
When asked if he was nervous during the competition, he said he wasn’t, because he’s been in enough bees that he wasn’t fazed by it. Among his prior experiences, last year he won the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools spelling bee and represented the Island at the National Bee in Washington, D.C.
Edgartown School’s geography bee took place in the gym before an audience of students, parents, and school staff. Teacher Pati Nelson, who teaches fifth and sixth grade social studies, was the bee’s coordinator, and school librarian Nancy Cole the moderator. Michael Lynch and Ellie Parece were the judges.
As the bee winner, Spencer said, he received an atlas, along with a medal and a certificate of championship. His name will be engraved on a plaque listing past winners that hangs in the school lobby.
Since the bee was held near the end of the school day, Spencer went home and then returned to school to take a written test, in order to try to qualify as one of the top 100 geography students in Massachusetts and compete at the state level.
Each state winner is invited to Washington, D.C., in May for the national finals to compete for a $25,000 grand prize scholarship awarded by the National Geographic Society (NGS).
NGS requests that the media not print the final question that determines a school winner. Below are some sample questions, however, from the NGS web site:
Which capital city, located about 20 miles from the Adriatic Sea, is a major industrial center for Albania?
Which country has a population with a longer life expectancy, Spain or Laos?
Because Earth bulges at the equator, the point that is farthest from Earth’s center is the summit of a peak in Ecuador. Name this peak.
(Answers: Tirana; Spain; Chimborazo.)