Northeast School Geo Bee Winners Showcase What's Special About Our School

Northeast Geo BeeMontclair’s Northeast Elementary School‘s Geo Bee just keeps growing. More teams than ever participated in the annual event last Saturday. The gym was overflowing. I know lots of kids who studied their buns off.

What’s so significant about the Northeast Geo Bee? It’s our school’s premier event showcasing our Global Studies magnet. (My kids attend Northeast.) We have an awesome dedicated geography teacher, Carole Jeckie (a former Barista Kids intern!) who connects kids via Skype with Africa and works with the National Geographic Genographic project and more. Instead of traditional school plays, we have class presentations where grades focus on one place. The second graders perform their Africa show this Thursday at 9:15 a.m.

But back to the Geo Bee: Kids form teams of three and start studying in the fall. Teams come together to compete for the grand prize, a tour of the New York City Public Library’s incredible and vast map collection. Matt Knutzen, a Northeast dad, emcee’s the Geo Bee. He’s also the NYPL’s Geospatial Librarian and Curator in the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.

His wife, Lili Knutzen, co-chaired. She said she loved having a role in the action this year. “The best part of the bee is it makes learning geography fun for all participants and their parents. The winners have been studying intensely since the start of the school year and have even held mock bees. They deserve recognition for all of their hard work.”

This year’s winning team, The Globees (photo above), were thrilled with their answers. Fourth graders Koome Murungi, Noah Pierre and Ari Kohn-Shepen locked in their first place position by answering this question:

“The Iberian Peninsula touches what country, Portugal or The Netherlands?”

Do you know the answer? Check it at the end of this post.

My kids were on their own teams, and they love Ari. They wanted to know more about his win, so here is a little Q&A they did with him:

Annabelle and Estelle: How much did you have to study?
Ari: I had to start studying in the end of November. My team met every week, and then I studied a lot at home on my own.

A and E: What do you find so interesting about geography?
A: My grandmother and my great grandmother love geography, and I think geography is very interesting because I like to know about the world.

A and E: What advice do you have for second graders who want to do better next year?
A: My advice is: study hard, work together and don’t give up. My team didn’t win in second grade either.

A and E: How does it feel to win?
A: I think winning is a great feeling! I’m very happy and excited about our prize. Last year we came in third place so it feels really good to win this year!

(Answer: Portugal)
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