RUMSON STUDENT HEADS TO STATE GEO BEE

Peter_O'ConnorPress release from Rumson School District

To fish in Lake Winnipesaukee and ski near Franconia Notch, you would travel to which state? Sea kayakers can explore hundreds of islands off the Dalmatian coast of which European country? The Forbidden City where the Chinese emperors lived is located within what present-day city?

These are among the questions that have been asked of middle school students competing in Geographic Bees at schools throughout New Jersey — and for the second consecutive year, Rumson student Peter O’Connor has been crowned the Geographic Bee champion at Forrestdale School. The 7th grader, son of Joe and Margot O’Connor, has been notified by the National Geographic Society that he will be eligible to compete as a semifinalist in the 2016 New Jersey National Geographic State Bee, to be held Friday, April 1 at the Tohill Theater on the campus of Rowan University in Glassboro.

Peter has also qualified for the New York Regional Finals of the National History Bee, which takes place on April 2. He independently took an online test for that competition, and in late January found out he qualified.  In 2015, Peter won the New York Regional Final, then went to Louisville, KY for the National Finals and finished in the top 30 in the country.

The April 1 event represents the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 28th year. School Bees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion. School champions then took an online qualifying test. The National Geographic Society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete in the state Bees.

Each state champion will receive $100, a copy of the National Geographic book The National Parks: An Illustrated History and a medal, and will journey to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Geographic Bee Championship at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 22-25.

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 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 National Geographic.

The 2016 National Geographic Bee Championship final round, moderated for the first time by journalist and humorist Mo Rocca, will air on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD on Friday, May 27, at 8 p.m. ET, and later on public television stations. Check local television listings for air date and time in your area.