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City School Superstars [Close-Up / City of Fairfax Schools]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Editor / City School Close-Up
City School Superstars, 2006

Hey all you geography whiz kids out there:

Q: Which continent, with 314 of its population living in urban areas, is the most densely populated? South America, Asia, or Europe?

Q: in the summer of 2001, a devastating earthquake hit Arequipa, a city founded during Spanish colonial times. It is the second largest city in what country? Argentina, Peru, or Columbia?

Q: What large geologic feature extends north to south under the Atlantic Ocean and is home to giant worms that depend on sulfur-digesting bacteria for food? The mid-Atlantic Ridge, or the Atlantic Plateau?

If you answered Europe, Peru, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, you’d be as geographically savvy as the City School students who aced this year’s geography bee, a tough one-hour multiple choice test created by the National Geographic Society.

“We had great contenders at Lanier, but after the January contest only 8th grader Nicole and 7th grader Ryan were still in the game,” says their social studies teacher Allyn Anderson, who coordinated the event.

A single question put Nicole over the top: Which country is between the Gulf of Gdansk and the Carpathian Mountains? Ryan said Poland. The answer, though, is Germany. “I had been playing Hearts of Iron the night before and had Poland on my mind,” he says.

“And I knew it because I had traveled there with my parents last summer,” explains Nicole, who went on to represent Lanier at the state competition on March 31—but didn’t make it to the next level. That would have put her in line to win a $25,000 scholarship. “Maybe next year,” she says.

Three elementary school students at Daniels Run also took home prizes in this year’s geography bee.

“It’s amazing when our students know things that most adults don’t,” muses Superintendent George Stepp.


More Close-Up / Fairfax City Schools Articles

"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.