NEWFANE — Two sixth grade students at NewBrook Elementary have proven their academic abilities on the state level.
Emma Brooks, 12, of NewBrook Elementary will compete in a state level geography test, the National Geographic Bee in Castleton today. In addition, in mid-March, 12-year-old James Jarvis-Stores placed eighth at the state level spelling bee. Jarvis-Stores and all of his 30 or so competitors walked away with a medal, and now Brooks has a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship.
"I said, 'oh my god am I day-dreaming or something?'" Brooks recalled saying when she won the school Nat Geo Bee.
The School Bee, at which students answered questions on geography, was the first round in the 27th annual National Geographic Bee. Fourth through eighth graders in thousands of school across the United States and in the five U.S. territories as well as in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools around the world are participating in the 2016 Bee.
Brooks, the champion of the NewBrook Elementary School Nat Geo Bee, passed a written test after the school competition that made her eligible to compete at the state level. The state winners will continue on to an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Bee national championship rounds May 22 to 25.
The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. The national champion will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, on a Lindblad expedition to southeast Alaska aboard National Geographic Sea Lion, including a stop at Glacier Bay National Park, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers will receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.
"I mostly study by checking the news and studying each continent," said Brooks.
Though she says she has not traveled much in her life at this point, Brooks says she genuinely enjoys geography and sees the relevance of staying informed.
"Geography is my favorite subject and it's important because if you move somewhere else you want to know what that place is all about," she said. "Let's say if I want to move to Ukraine, I should know stats and stuff like that."
Brooks said she is nervous about competing against some of the "older kids," like the seventh and eighth graders, but says she will try to stay focused during the April 1 competition.
Jarvis-Stores had similar nervous feelings when he competed at the Scripps State Spelling Bee last month.
"It was very stressful, it was intense, I was very, very nervous before the competition," he said. "The nerves were overbearing, my hands were shaking!"
At the state competition, if any competitor misspelled one word, they were instantly eliminated, which is what Jarvis-Stores said he found most nerve-wracking.
"What's surprising about the whole thing is that I was really proud of myself. After I got done with the first round, I got my groove basically and I got a lot of words right, so that was fun!"
Jarvis-Stores was also on NewBrook's spelling bee team that placed third at the state competition.
"I extremely enjoy spelling. I love learning so many new words even though it's probably unlikely that I would ever use them, like let's say 'pickelhaube!' Would I ever use that in real life? Probably not."
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275