Stratford Student Takes Home Award at State Geography Bee!!

On April 9, 2012 by stratfordschools

The Geography Bee: The Pomeroy Post

An older article with a new update and announcement!

Written By: Claire Yoon and Shivani Ghate (Stratford’s Santa Clara Middle School Students)




Geography … this may sound like just a description of the world, but it’s far more than that. Geography encompasses the way different people and their cultures work together and how people adapt to the geography in which they live. It also includes topics ranging from climate to education, land use, and the impact on, and of, the people who live there. Mrs. Bridges said that though there is not much focus on them these days a competition can garner interest – and, of course, competitions are great publicity.

On January 6, 2012, the Stratford Pomeroy Campus held its second annual Geography Bee. The final contestants were Atul Saha (6A), Bhuvan Basireddy (6B), William Hu (6C), Ria Gandhi (7A), Shreyas Vaidya (7B), Aanika Shah (7C), and Nidhi Bangari (8A). Mrs. Bridges judged, while Mr. Smith asked the questions.

So how were these eight extraordinary geography students selected? First, the whole school participated, struggling to finish a difficult, eighteen-page test. Then the study hall teachers had the tedious task of grading them, but finally picked the best student from each class. At last, the results were out, and everyone breathed a sigh of re-lief or disappointment. Most of the finalists couldn’t believe their ears when they heard. ―I – was – totally – shocked. I had barely prepared, and I had struggled to finish! Compared to others in my class, I didn’t really think that I deserved it, I said Aanika Shah (the 7C finalist) when she heard the news.

For the finalists, this was only the first obstacle. Over the Winter Break, each of them studied every little detail about every country they could think of. Then, on January 6th, the first Friday after the break, the Geography Bee was held.

After a quick summary of the rules, the questions began. Initial questions covered mostly the U.S., but other countries were included as well. Sometimes contestants were required to write answers down on a board, which was then displayed to the audience and judges; sometimes they had to look at special maps, to glean information; and at times they had to state the answer orally. Most of the contestants seemed nervous at first, but later on they started to gain some confidence. ―It was OK, but I was also nervous, since I was the last one to say the answer,” said William Hu(6C finalist). As time flew by, the louder the gasps and whispers and cheers got. Pretty soon, contestants were eliminated and Stratford was down to its final two: William Hu (6C) and Ria Gandhi (7A). Whoever answered the best of three questions would win the Geography Bee. Ria answered one question correctly, and so did William. Only one question remained. The crowd held its breath as the two gave different answers. A suspenseful silence followed, then the correct answer was announced – and Ria Gandhi was declared the official winner! ―I couldn’t believe it, I was her only response as that reality sank in. ―I had sort of guessed the answer to the last question.

A medal was handed over to a beaming Ria. All the finalists received pins. Ria Gandhi also took the National Geographic State Bee Test soon afterwards. She passed the test, and will be going to the State Competition on March 30th.

Right after the competition, Middle School Principal Ms. Gupta, heard from Ria:

 “Hi Mrs. Gupta, I’M ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!! :)  During the state geography bee today, I got 5th place out of the 105 contestants and I am also the #1 girl in the state of California!! It was very hard and I had to clear ten rounds to reach the final round which consisted of 10 kids.”

“Thank you for sharing this fabulous news with us Ria and Mr. Gupta! We are very proud of everyone who participated and we are happy to see and hear all the support that Ria is getting from her Stratford family. What a great accomplishment!”

~ Stratford School

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