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Gaga for geography

Published 10:22am Thursday, December 6, 2012

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Fifth-grader wins Southgate Geography Bee

Anyone who says children aren’t world-wise doesn’t know Katie Lillemon. Katie, a fifth-grader, won the Southgate Geography Bee Wednesday.

“It was great,” Katie said. “This is my second time being in the championships. It was great to win it.”

Twenty-two students grades four through eight participated in the geography bee, which consisted of five rounds, followed by a round for the 10 finalists and another for the last two standing.

While Katie said she knew most of the questions that came up, the preliminary rounds and the championships had the hardest ones.

Questions took on a new theme for each round, ranging from a focus on continents to the 50 United States. Some were oral answers at the podium, while others consisted of writing the place or term in question on a dry erase board and showing it to the judges. Students in the audience clapped to show support for their peers who were eliminated in each round.

Earlier in the competition, a tie for the top 10 seats sent a handful of students through extra rounds to decide who would occupy the four seats up for grabs. Judges added up points for correct answers throughout the competition to determine who advanced to the finals.

Katie and Ellie Guanella were the final two contestants. When Katie won, the gym exploded in applause and her father, David Lillemon, hurried up to congratulate her.

Sherrie Voigt, a gifted and talented teacher, said Katie can choose to take a written test to qualify for the state geography bee.

“I think I will,” Katie said. “It’s a great experience for me. Even if I don’t win it’s great to try.”

The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for state champions and teacher escorts to participate in the national championship rounds in May, with “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek moderating.

Other geography bee winners:

Banfield Elementary

Willy Burger

Neveln Elementary

Patrick Alfton

Sumner Elementary

Guandong Koang

Ellis Middle School

Lily Holtz


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