Wolyniec wins WMS geography beeWORTHINGTON — Which small Asian country is home to eight of the 10 highest mountain peaks in the world? Seventh-grader Oliver Wolyniec answered “Nepal” to win the Worthington Middle School Geography Bee Thursday morning.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Which small Asian country is home to eight of the 10 highest mountain peaks in the world? Seventh-grader Oliver Wolyniec answered “Nepal” to win the Worthington Middle School Geography Bee Thursday morning.
“It comes naturally to me, and my mom (sixth-grade teacher Paula Wolyniec) is a geography teacher,” he said. To prepare for the competition, Oliver had been reading a book called “Don’t Know Much About Geography.”
“It’s just a bunch of random questions so I don’t think it’s really helped me,” he said, “but then I just kind of studied. I spent time looking at maps, too.”
Oliver will take a written, multiple-choice qualifying test to determine whether he’ll advance to the state competition in April, where the top 100 test-takers in Minnesota compete.
A total of 30 students completed seven rounds of preliminary competition, with each round focused on a theme: continents, cultural geography, and geography of extremes, such as longest countries or deepest lakes, for example.
Competition moderator and sixth-grade teacher Derek Schmitz, who specializes in social studies and geography, said it was one of the better preliminary rounds he’s seen.
“In all the times I’ve helped with it and moderated it, the kids answered very well,” he said. The school-level contest, which is part of the National Geographic Bee, started in Worthington in 1989.
“I don’t want (the students) to be that person on Jay Leno and you see them give some ridiculous answer,” Schmitz continued. “I want these children to have a good grasp of what is the world around us.”
Ten students advanced to the final competition, where they were eliminated after giving two incorrect answers. The big stumper of that round was this question: What large body of water separates the Delmarva Peninsula from the southern part of New Jersey? The answer is Delaware Bay.
Oliver and eighth-grader Will Dudley advanced to the championship round.
Geography seems to run in the family for two members of the top ten. Quentin Dudley and Jeremy Clark, older brother of seventh-grader Zach Clark, competed at the state level in 2001 and 2005, respectively. Gordy Moore, the older brother of bee participant Meredith Moore, also competed at the state level in 2007.