Thursday May 04, 2017
Do you know the birthplace of the Ganges River? Or the world’s driest place? Could you list the components of a watershed or how to construct a time zone model? Geography is more than the study of the physical features of the earth, it is a field of science including topics as wide ranging as the distribution of populations to the relationships between people and their environments. Sixth grader Anshuta Beeram understands the topic intimately. A student at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School (FHTMS), she recently won the Vermont 2017 National Geographic State Bee, held at Castleton University and soon will be on her way to represent Vermont in the National Geographic Bee Championship in Washington, D.C. The competition is an annual event organized by the National Geographic Society and is designed to inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world. Scholars from 10,000 schools across the United States compete in this bee for a chance to win college scholarships and the glory of being the National Geographic Bee Champion. Beeram will take her abundance of knowledge to the capital to compete at the National Geographic Society headquarters May 14 through 17.
To add to Beeram’s accomplishment, according to Keighan Chapman, Vermont’s coordinator for the National Geographic Bee, she is the first girl to win the competition. “We are so proud of Anshuta. A lot of focus, time, and preparation goes into this competition and Anshuta’s win is a testament to those efforts,” says Chapman. He adds, “Congratulations South Burlington School District, Frederick H Tuttle Middle School, Mr. Gary Russell and Anshuta Beeram, your commitment to student engagement and geographic literacy is inspiring!”
FHTMS social studies teacher Gary Russell accompanied the Beerams to the state competition. He said, “In a contest composed of approximately 80 sixth to eighth graders from around the state, it might be interesting to note that Anshuta had to survive a ‘tiebreaker’ round with about 20 kids in order to advance to the semi-final round.” He notes that eventually the round was down to 12 students, which was then, “dwindled down to only two finalists - an eighth grade girl from Albert D. Lawton School, named Ella, and Anshuta.” He calls the two students trailblazers, saying, “This was the first time in Vermont Geo Bee history that there was an all-girl final!”
Karsten Schlenter, FHTMS principal, echoed Russell’s enthusiasm, adding, “We are indeed proud that this is the first time a sixth grade girl won this award.”
As the winner of the state bee, Beeram received $100 and the National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World, 4th Edition, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Vermont in the national championship. The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society, including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all-expenses-paid expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour ll. Second and third-place finishers receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.
The preliminary rounds of the national championship take place Sunday and Monday, May 14 and 15. Then the final rounds, featuring the top 10 finalists, are Wednesday, May 17. The event will be moderated by humorist and journalist Mo Rocca and National Geographic will air the final round of the championship at 8 p.m., Friday, May 19. It will be aired later on public television stations.