Sixth Grader, Luke Kuang, Wins Mayfield Middle School Geography Bee


Ilana Miller, Staff Writer

On the morning of January 18, thirty-eight students gathered in the Media Center to compete in the second preliminary round of the National Geographic Geography Bee, with Luke Kuang, a sixth grader, taking first place. Although the competition was originally supposed to take place on January 5, the date was changed because a snow day.

For the first part of the competition, there were seven rounds of questions, which got increasingly more difficult. Each student had thirty seconds to answer each question. They could only have the question repeated once within the thirty seconds and twice in total during the round

Mrs. Bean, who facilitates the Geography Bee, expressed that the questions were difficult. She stated, “I was startled by what they [the students] knew.”

After the 38 students each answered their seven questions, the ten who had gotten the most correct were selected to move on to the next round. Those students were Lindsey Urban, Danielle Musi, Abhi Siri, Pranav Sompalle, Luke Kuang, Jenny Fu, Riley Jones, Riley Schroeder, Ani Sriram, and Ivan Zamyatin.

The ten participants all sat in the first two rows and stood up to answer questions, similar to a spelling bee. The round was double elimination, which meant that after a student got two questions wrong, they were out.

Luke Kuang, a sixth grader who competed in the bee, and the only sixth grader represented among the finalists, recalled, “I was worried that I would accidentally say the wrong answer.”

Once seven students were eliminated, Luke Kuang, Pranav Sompalle, and Ani Sriram moved on to the next round. The three remaining participants were asked questions and held up the answers on whiteboards. This round was also double elimination, so after two students were eliminated, Luke Kuang was announced the winner.

A few days after the MMS competition, he took the qualifying test for the state Geography Bee. If he qualifies, he will go to Columbus to compete.

Lindsey Urban, an eighth grader who participated in the Geography Bee stated, “I’m happy for the people who placed in the top three because they probably worked for it.”

To prepare for the competition, Luke, who qualified for the state bee last year, explained, “Most of the time I was just looking at maps and trying to memorize everything on the maps.”

Luke also explained that he used resources online to study. Praval Jiddu, a sixth grader who also competed in the bee, said he memorized a lot about history, economics, and culture in order to prepare for the event.

Mrs. Paulson, the Library Assistant who watched the Geography Bee, remarked, “It was exciting. And I think everybody was anxious. The questions weren’t easy.”

Mrs. Bean said she really likes that the Geography Bee is another way to bring academic competition into the building. She explained, “I feel like we have lots of sporting events, plus math and science competitions, so it’s nice to represent competitive academics in another way.”