Harris, Olabode Pin Wins on the Map During Geography Bee


First place winner Terry Harris and runner-up Taiwo Olabode pose with Principal Nwanguma after their win.

As a way to help students within the school understand and enjoy geography, Winslow Township Middle School (WTMS) held the annual Geography Bee on January 22, 2020. Participants were chosen after taking an elimination test earlier in the year in social studies class, and their social studies teacher chose the students with the top scores. 

The winners of the WTMS Geography Bee were eighth grader Tarry Harris for first place, representing Mrs. Maxwell’s class, and seventh grader Taiwo Olabode for second place, representing Ms. Donohue’s class.

“It felt very exciting and unexpected [to win],” said Harris, “especially since other people were prepared.”

Questions for the Geography Bee were chosen by the National Geography Society. The limit for how many students able to participate in the bee was as many as thirty students. The school had to follow the set of guidelines given by the National Geography Society so that the bee is equal for all participating students, an idea emcee social studies teacher Mr. Voss takes seriously.

“There are some terms, counties, and cities that have some whopper of names,” stated Voss, “and for me to be able to properly pronounce them allows [me] to keep the contestants at ease, to enjoy the competition and to do the best they can.”

Heather Hay
Judges look on as students answer questions in the opening rounds.

On the National Geographic website, the purpose of the bee is to promote knowledge about geography among young people in the U.S. The winner of the school championship will receive a medal along with a certificate. That winner can proceed into the state and national contests and could possibly win cash prizes, scholarships, and trips.

It felt very exciting and unexpected [to win], especially since other people were prepared”

— Terry Harris, First Place Winner

“I consider it a celebration,”  Voss stated, “but also an encouragement of understanding, comprehending, and really just enjoying  geography.”

The National Geography Society provides multiple ways for contestants to prepare for the bee, such as their app, their books, and Kahoot. Participants may also watch the National Geographic channel as preparation for the Geography Bee. Harris prepared himself  by watching the History and National Geography channels. 

“It really wasn’t that much time,” stated by Harris so watching science channel or NAT Geo.” 

The winners of the WTMS Geography Bee were eighth grader Tarry Harris for first place, and seventh grader Taiwo Olabode for second place. Harris and Olabode competed against each other by writing down their answer for a question asked for both of them. The final question that determined the winner of the bee read, “Rain that falls on the slope of Triple Divide Peak in Montana’s Glacier National Park eventually flows to the Pacific, the Atlantic, and which other ocean?”; the answer was the Arctic Ocean. Harris understands winning is an honor.

“I was excited to be nominated,” Harris stated “and [to] take part in something like that.”