April 26, 1999
Woodinville participants in the 1999 Washington State Geography Bee included: (left to right) Jack Evert from Hollywood Hlll Elementary, Bryan Cattle from Leota Junior High, and Mark Reed from Bellevue Christian.
by Deborah Stone, features writer
Each year, National Geographic sponsors the Geography Bee. All around the nation, schools hold local geography bees for children in grades five through eight. The winners of these bees take a national written exam, and the top one hundred scorers in each state go on to compete in the State Geography Bee.
Washington's Geography Bee was held April 9 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Seven students from the communities of Woodinville, Bothell, and Kenmore competed at the state level: Bryan Cattle, Jack Evert, and Mark Reed from Woodinville; Colin Bayer, Severin Gose, and Kevin Zhou from Bothell; and Brett Miller from Kenmore.
The Bee was done orally, and questions touched upon a number of different areas including history, economics, current events, and cultural information.
Christine Cattle, mother of participant Bryan Cattle of Woodinville, states, "The material tested is very comprehensive and goes beyond what you might consider typical geography information."
Bryan, an eighth grader at Leota Jr. High School, enjoys competing in the Geography Bee because he likes academic challenges and finds the subject matter interesting. He says, "It's helpful to know about places when you hear about them, like in the news. There are so many interesting places in the world and it's fun to learn about them."
Bryan doesn't prepare for the Bee because he views the competition as a test of his general knowledge. "My knowledge of geography comes from reading; plus I'm interested in current events, which help me become aware of different countries and people," explains Bryan.
The winner of the State Bee, a student from Seattle, will go on to compete in the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. this spring.