It was an intense morning in the auditorium at Park View Middle School on Wednesday, January 10 as students watched their peers on stage as finalists for the school’s National Geographic Bee.
Eight students representing each team for the sixth, seventh and eighth grades sat facing the audience as moderator Ron Voccio stood at the podium. The student representatives were Mariana Brito and Rasheed Williams, representing the sixth-grade Phoenix and All Stars teams, respectively. David Gomes, June Eagan and Ari D’Arconte were representing the seventh-grade Game Changers, 7 Wonders, and Elements teams, respectively. And James Ring, Deem Quinn and Milan Mejia were representing the eighth-grade Patriots, Crazy 8s, and Elements teams, respectively.
A panel of five judges sat before them, watching and listening, keeping track of correct and incorrect answers for each question. According to Voccio, the rules stated that a student would be eliminated after two incorrect answers in a row.
Each round of geographic questions incorporated a different type of answer. For some rounds, the questions were answered orally. For others they were written responses, and still others utilized a map in their answers.
By round three, five students remained, and it was down to three students by the fourth round with Ari D’Arconte, David Gomes and James Ring as the final three.
The audience remained silently captivated as round five began. Each student had 15 seconds to orally answer the questions, and both Gomes and Ring had incorrect answers to the first question, which automatically sent D’Arconte on to the finals.
Gomes and D’Arconte were set to compete in the championship round to see who would take first place and who would take second as Ring took third. The winner of the championship round would be the first place winner and go on to the state level.
As the final round closed, it was determined that Gomes, a seventh-grade student from the Game Changers team, would be representing the school as first-place winner at the state level bee in April with D’Arconte named as the school’s second place winner. Winners of the state bee qualify to participate in the national bee, held in Washington DC in May 2018.