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January 21, 2016

Niskayuna middle school students compete to become master
of the map


Iroquois winner Nicholas Riendeau with his Social Studies teacher Aubrey Salisbury   Van Antwerp winner Shivani Singh with her Social Studies teacher Tracey Newell

In January, Niskayuna middle school students competed in school-wide National Geographic School Bees.

Students in grades 6-8 at Iroquois and Van Antwerp competed for school titles. The competition began in individual classrooms, then finalists moved on to school-wide contests where they were tested in a series of challenging geography questions prepared by the National Geographic Society.

According to Luke Rakoczy, Van Antwerp principal and grade 6-8 social studies coordinator, the competition requires significant geographic knowledge and map analysis. Answers are presented orally and/or in writing. Students are eliminated from the competition if they answer two questions incorrectly in a format similar to a spelling bee.

Van Antwerp finalists were eighth-graders Preston Jeffers, Shivani Singh, Nate Vandermark and Andrew Casey-Wagemaker; seventh-graders Adele Giovanniello, Katarina Mills and Alex Pan; and sixth-graders Jeffrey Chen, Leo DeCarlo and Sarah May. Singh topped Casey-Wagemaker in the finals, becoming the Van Antwerp MS Geography Bee Champion.

At Iroquois, finalists included eighth-graders Alex Dunne, John Goldstoff, Lucas Kammer and Connor Shoemaker; seventh-graders Jessalyn Bonaparte, Grace Rohde, Maxwell Rowden and Kaitlyn Yan; and sixth-graders Faith Borkowski and Nicholas Riendeau. Riendeau edged Rohde in the finals to be named Iroquois MS Geography Bee Champion.

Singh and Riendeau will now take an exam in an attempt to qualify for the state competition in March.