Burlingame youth is National Geographic California Geography Bee champion

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Burlingame youth is National Geographic California Geography Bee champion

Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, a seventh grader at Nueva School in Burlingame, correctly answered a question about canals in ancient Persia to become the 2014 champion of the National Geographic California State Geography Bee held at Fresno State today.

Daniel Wang of San Jose earned second place and Rhea Mitr of Dublin earned third, making it a Bay Area sweep.

The competition, held in Fresno for the first time, was attended by more than 350 people as 98 contestants battled it out for about four hours.

The 13-year-old Tuvya was presented with his $100 award by Sean Boyd, state coordinator and lecturer in Fresno State’s Department of Geography and City and Regional Planning. Next, Tuvya will travel to Washington D.C. for the national geography bee May 19-21 to compete for a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the society.

The national winner will also receive an all-expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands to experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the islands’ unique wildlife and landscapes.

The National Geographic Geography Bee Competitions national finals will be aired May 22 on the National Geographic Channel and moderated by Soledad O’Brien of CNN.

For more information, contact Boyd at seboyd@csufresno.edu.  

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UPDATED 12:00 p.m.

Ten students have advanced to the final round of the National Geographic California State Geography Bee at Fresno State.  They are:

  • Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, Burlingame
  • Tyler D’Errico, Castro Valley
  • Jonah Kaufman-Cohen, Oakland
  • Sydney Keeton, El Portal
  • Rhea Mitr, Dublin
  • Anshuman Pendse, Milpitas
  • David Sherr, San Francisco
  • Nathan Suess, Carmel
  • Daniel Wang, San Jose
  • Chongdu Xu, San Marcos

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National Geographic State Geography Bee on campus

The National Geographic California State Geography Bee will  at Fresno State beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday, April 4.

Competitions are being held in all 50 states Friday leading up to the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. on May 19-21 when the 50 state champions will compete for the top prize. The national finals will be aired May 22 on the National Geographic Channel and moderated by Soledad O’Brien of CNN.

At Friday’s California competition, Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro will welcome 100 fourth- through eighth-grade contestants at the opening session from 8:30-9 a.m. in North Gym 118.

After the opening session, judges, moderators and competitors will break out into nearby classrooms for the preliminaries.

The state winner will receive $100 and the trip to the nationals to compete for a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the society. The national winner will also receive an all-expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands to experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the islands unique wildlife and landscapes.

The event is not open to the public due to space limitations, said Sean Boyd, a lecturer in Fresno State’s Department of Geography and City and Regional Planning who is coordinating the event for the first time.

The bee was held at Cosumnes River Community College in Sacramento the past 25 years. When the previous state coordinator stepped down from that position, Boyd took over and brought the event to Fresno State.

“We are thrilled to bring this prestigious educational event to Fresno,” Boyd said. “The intent of our department is for this competition to thrive and remain here on our campus.”

The competition for the 2014 title began in November with schools and school districts nationwide conducting local geography bees using materials from National Geographic. From those competitions, National Geographic determined the 100 students in each state who would be invited as qualifiers to compete in the state finals

Boyd said there will be 20 students per preliminary session with the top two contestants from each of the five preliminary rooms moving on to the finals, which will be held at about 10:30 a.m. in North Gym 118.

From those top 10 contestants will come a state champion, who will be invited to compete in the National Geography Bee.

Fresno State Geography professors and other faculty will function as judges and moderators and Geography Club members will serve as volunteers along with other students.

For more information, contact Boyd at seboyd@csufresno.edu.  

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