PORTLAND – Competing in his third Maine Geographic Bee, James Davis of Sabattus emerged the champion and garnered a spot in the national competition in May.
Davis, an eighth-grader at Sabattus Central School, has won his school geography bee since fourth grade. This year was his last chance to win the state title, and he did it without missing a single question during the final round.
The National Geographic Society has sponsored geography bees for students in fourth through eighth grades nationwide for the past 22 years. Hundreds of schools in Maine hold the first level of competition early in the school year, said Brian Cushing, coordinator for the state and teacher at Lake Region High School. School winners take a written test that is provided and scored by National Geographic. Students with the top 100 scores learned in March that they were invited to participate in the state bee.
On April 9, at the University of Southern Maine, those top 100 students competed in a preliminary round that eliminated all but the final 10 geography experts. The finalists then took the stage in the Hannaford Lecture Hall when their knowledge of U.S., world, economic, historic, physical and current events geography was tested.
The top three finishers received recognition, prizes and cash from the event sponsors. Placing second was Ursula Hebert-Johnson of Waterville, an eighth-grader from Waterville Junior High School. Placing third was Jon Tuttle of Minot, a seventh-grader from Trinity Catholic School in Lewiston.
Besides the prizes for state championship, Davis and a representative from his school also received travel and accommodations for the four-day national event in Washington, D.C. The national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an all-expense-paid trip to the Galapagos Islands.