Delilah Harris heads to state Geography Bee

Sixth-grade West Homer Elementary School student Delilah Harris beat out 26 fellow students at the school’s Geography Bee on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Theo McDonough, a fifth grader, took the runner-up spot.

Delilah will advance to the state competition on April 1 at the Egan Center in Anchorage, competing for the chance to travel to the National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., in May, said West Homer Elementary School Principal Raymond Marshall. If Delilah cannot attend the state bee, Theo will go instead as West Homer Elementary’s representative.

The bee was organized in rounds, starting with all 26 students answering the same questions by writing the answers on individual whiteboards, Marshall said. The students who answered all 10 U.S. geography questions right moved on to the second round. 

During the second round, individual questions were posed to each of the 14 students. The third round showcased the final four students — all of whom answered their questions wrong the first time around. The round had to be redone so that a winner and runner-up could be chosen, Marshall said.

“I’ve never seen it happen where everyone missed their question in a round,” Marshall said.

Though the first round includes only geography of the United States, the subsequent rounds cover global geography as well. Students answered questions such as, “Which country is Africa’s largest by area — Algeria or Malawi?” and “The world’s hottest place, with a high annual average temperature of 93 degrees, is located near Eritrea in which country — Ethiopia or Croatia?”

“They asked questions that I was like, ‘Oh goodness gracious!’ There were questions that I didn’t know the answer to and the kids were getting them right,” Marshall said.

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