Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Students Gearing Up for Geographic Bee

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Students Gearing Up for Geographic Bee

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

Portugal.

That was the answer eighth-grader James Williams of Vancouver, Wash., gave to win last year's National Geographic Bee on the last question -- what country was in possession of Goa, a state in southwestern India, until 1961?

Now six middle-school students from the Jacksonville area are hoping they get the chance to compete in the National GeoBee Tuesday and Wednesday, May 25 and 26 in Washington, D.C. after acing their schools' contest and a follow-up test for the regional finalists. But first, one of them will have to beat 98 other students from across the state at the Florida GeoBee Friday morning at Jacksonville University.

Jacksonville Country Day School sixth-grader Matthew Silverstein is one of the six local students. The Southside 12-year-old has qualified for the state finals two years in a row and prepares by reading up on history and stories in the newspaper "because that keeps me up with what's happening in the world."

"It is a really nice surprise because out of several thousand who take the test, only about 100 qualify, and it is a really great honor," he said. "I got a packet to study from school, so I have some sort of practice, but you can't prepare because they have all different kinds of questions."

James Weldon Johnson Middle School eighth-grader Simon Proudfoot, from Jacksonville's Northside, said he is happy to have won a chance to compete this week.

"I am quite excited and anticipating the competition," Proudfoot said. "My teacher gave me a whole shoebox full of questions from past bees and a bunch of National Geographics to read."

Lakeside Junior High School seventh-grader Michael Prosperi of Orange Park said he is studying geographical facts for this week's GeoBee at JU.

"The school was amazed that a seventh-grader swept the bee," he said. …

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