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Principal Thomas Martin poses with some of the participants in the Village School of North Bennington’s Geography Bee. Sixth-grader Ricardo Maikoo won, and will take a qualifying exam to compete at the state level. (Courtesy of the Village School of North Bennington)
Principal Thomas Martin poses with some of the participants in the Village School of North Bennington’s Geography Bee. Sixth-grader Ricardo Maikoo
Principal Thomas Martin poses with some of the participants in the Village School of North Bennington’s Geography Bee. Sixth-grader Ricardo Maikoo won, and will take a qualifying exam to compete at the state level. (Courtesy of the Village School of North Bennington)

NORTH BENNINGTON -- Students of the Village School of North Bennington showed off their knowledge of geography last week, with one moving on to be eligible for the Vermont State Geography Bee in April.

The competition, which was part of the National Geography Bee, took place on Jan. 7, and featured 10 students, from grades four through six, who were the top scorers in the classroom phase of the bee, held in the fall.

Sixth-grade student Ricardo Maikoo came out on top of the other competition, and will complete a written qualifying exam. That exam will be corrected and scored by the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C., and will determine if he will be invited to compete in the Vermont State Geography Bee, which will be held at Middlebury College on April 4. The National competition will be held from May 19-21.

The Village School's top three scorers were spread among the three grades that competed, with Maikoo taking first place, fourth grader Aidan Buggee coming in second, and fifth grader Paige Snyder coming in third. Fourth-grader students Croix Post and Ian Winter, fifth graders Austin Dessert and Phoebe Thomson, and sixth graders Maximilian Harvey-Wilson, Maxwell Perry, and Joshua Rogers also competed.

Thousands of schools compete

Last year, Tyler Jager, a seventh-grade student from Manchester Elementary/Middle School won the state competition, but did not finish in the top 10 at the national level. However, two other students from New England, 7th grader Sathwik Karnik, of Massachusetts, and 8th grader Neelam Sandhu, of New Hampshire, did advance to the final round, with Karnik winning the entire competition. The final 10 were made up of one fifth grader, two sixth graders, six seventh graders, and one eight grader.

The National Geographic Society, known in modern times for their magazine and television channel, was founded by a prestigious group of scientists and explorers in 1888. Every year, thousands of schools compete in the National Geography Bee, which has been occurring every year since 1989.

According to a press release from the Village School, the contest is designed to "encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography." Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for the competition.

Per the release, "While geographic knowledge has all but disappeared from the most recent way of national curriculums, the Village School of North Bennington continues the tradition of Geo Bee participation due to our commitment to advancing our children's understanding of the larger world in which we live, the diversity of world cultures, and the important role of geography in historical and political events around the world."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB.