Alex Trebec has nothing on eighth grade Convent of the Sacred Heart student Arielle Kirven, who recently won the school’s championship of the National Geographic Bee.
Arielle, a Weston resident, now moves onto the next level, which is the statewide National Geographic Bee scheduled for April. This is the fifth consecutive year that Sacred Heart middle school students have competed in the contest.
In January, students in grades fifth to eighth competed in grade-level preliminary rounds, facilitated by their history teachers. The field was narrowed to eight contestants: Taylor Pratt and Chiara Schmidt in fifth grade; Callie Barr of Greenwich and Ella Holl of Old Greenwich in sixth grade, Kate Ruberti of Greenwich and Laura Holland in seventh grade and Aisling Byrne of Greenwich and Arielle Kirven in eighth grade. These final eight competed in the middle school championship recently held in the Lennie and John de Csepel Theater on campus.
“The questions in these final rounds are always challenging, but the difficulty varies,” said Samantha McCoy, eighth-grade history teacher, who delivered the questions to the students in the final rounds.
Most finalists were successful with answering the initial question — “From its source in Minnesota, the Mississippi River flows south about 2,300 miles before emptying into what large gulf?” (Answer: Gulf of Mexico). But as the questions became increasingly more challenging, the field narrowed until there were only two competitors remaining in the final round — sixth-grader Callie Barr and Arielle.
Ms. McCoy then addressed the two girls, telling them that the winner would be the student who had the most correct responses out of three questions that were to be delivered verbally. The final round consisted of this tricky question, which probably stumped many of the adults in the audience, too. “The Yaghan were a nomadic tribe indigenous to Tierra del Fuego, an island group that is divided between Argentina and what other country?” (Answer: Chile).
With the most correct answers, Arielle now moves to the next level of competition in the National Geographic Bee, the statewide championship, which is scheduled for April 5.