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Nathan Hale 7th-Grader Wins Geography Bee

Maeve Bustell’s hard work preparing for Nathan Hale’s National Geographic Geography Bee paid off. The seventh-grader grinned ear to ear as her name was announced as winner of the school’s annual competition on Thursday morning. “I watched lots of previous competitions and ordered the official study guide,” she said. Bustell answered all of her questions correctly except:  What is the name of a narrow strip of land that connects two larger land masses?  (It’s an isthmus.)

David Gibson, head social studies teacher and organizer of the schoolwide competition, noted the significance of the day. “Today is also the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.” Twenty-four students — eight from each grade — qualified as finalists in the competition by taking a written exam. The finalists took the stage and answered questions — mostly about states, cities and countries — that became progressively more difficult. All questions are provided by National Geographic. A process of elimination left four students who had to answer five questions on paper. Bustell had the most correct answers and will qualify for a statewide competition. Nathan Hale is the only middle school in Norwalk to participate in the National Geographic contest.

Gibson says the competition is focused on culture.  “Standardized tests focus on math, writing and reading. Equally important is culture and studying other places,” he says. “Norwalk is a multicultural place. This type of activity helps students understand and appreciate where their peers and friends come from.”

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