By Rhoda Wilner, Netzaberg Elementary SchoolFebruary 11, 2013
ESCHENBACH, Germany -- Knowing the location of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, home to abundant wildlife, is what fourth-grader Alyssa Martinez needed to know in order to win the Fourth Annual Netzaberg Elementary School Geography Bee, recently.
The competition began with 185 confident fourth- and fifth-graders attempting to correctly answer questions about U.S. and world physical and cultural geography.
Among many other geographic facts, they knew South Carolina grows more peanuts than Colorado; that the Baltic Sea borders Europe, and that you would be visiting Russia if you wanted to ride the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Martinez has lived in Germany since she was in kindergarten, giving her and her family lots of opportunities to travel. She has always been interested in geography, she said, adding she knew the answer to the winning question (Alaska) thanks to a Geronimo Stilton book.
Runner-up, fourth-grader Ethan Zweibelson, was very nervous about participating in his first geography bee but felt that his vast knowledge of geography, as well as his interest in travel, would help him do well.
Between the two of these students, they have travelled to more than a dozen European countries including Spain, Austria, England, Italy and the Czech Republic, experiences that were bound to help them shine at this year's bee.
As winner of the school-level bee, Martinez will proudly represent Netzaberg Elementary School as she advances to the next level of the National Geographic Bee, a written test that will determine the state competitors and a chance at a $25,000 college scholarship.