CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Jan. 17, 2017) -- You could have heard a pin drop in the room- each 15 seconds of silence gave student competitors the opportunity to advance to the next level in the 28th annual school-wide National Geographic Bee held Jan. 13 inside John O. Arnn Elementary school's information center, located on Sagamihara Family Housing Area.

Benjamin Greenman, reading specialist for Arnn and one of the judges, said the bee consisted of a preliminary round for all 4th, 5th and 6th graders in December. The top 10 finalist and two alternates moved to compete in the school-wide National Geographic Bee.

The competitors answered 25 geographical questions varying from US landforms to world culture- the competitor to answer the most questions correctly was announced as the winner.

Rushton Kovaleski, sixth-grader, said he was shaking in the final round when he had to go into a tie-breaker round against Sofia Barrineau, sixth-grader.

Greenman said the competition was broadcast live through close circuit TV in the school for the 4th, 5th 6th grade classes.

Clapping and shouts from the other competitors, parents and school personnel echoed from the waiting room as Rushton was announced as Arnn's 28th school-wide National Geographic Bee winner.

"It's really cool," said Rushton, after becoming a champion for two consecutive years.

"I just focused on a question," said Rushton, "I studied a lot last year, and some of the information stayed with me this year."

"This year I saw a lot more people get a lot more questions right," said Rushton.

All the competitors had great potential and geographical minds, said Rushton, and "I am proud to join the exclusive group."

Rushton said it's always fun to take part in the school-wide National Geographic Bee.