REGION — Three area students are being recognized for their geographical knowledge.

Nicholas DeMarco, a fifth grade student at Cascade Brook School in Farmington, Whitney McIntire, seventh grader at Mt. Blue Middle School in Farmington, and Emily Nichols, an eighth grader at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay, qualified to compete at the 2020 Maine GeoBee that was to be held March 27 at the University of Maine Farmington.

Because of the coronavirus, the 100 qualifying students were to have taken an online test to determine who would represent Maine at the national level later this year. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 the program has been canceled.

A notice on the National Geographic website reads: After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 National Geographic GeoBee and GeoChallenge competitions. This includes the state-level GeoBee competitions and regional-level GeoChallenge competitions scheduled for Friday, March 27, 2020 as well as the GeoChampionships scheduled in May 2020 at National Geographic headquarters.

Below is a statement from Vicki Phillips, Executive Vice President and Chief Education Officer at the National Geographic Society.

“Like other organizations around the world, the National Geographic Society is continuing to monitor the latest developments in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which includes evaluating all of our public-facing programs. After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s National Geographic GeoBee and GeoChallenge competitions. We believe it is critical to safeguard the health and safety of our GeoBee and GeoChallenge communities—and all those who take part in our events and experiences—by taking proactive steps to avoid any unnecessary health risks associated with group gatherings.

“We are deeply saddened by this turn of events and did not make this decision lightly. We recognize the tremendous amount of time and effort that students, teachers, coordinators, administrators, parents and staff have poured into these competitions. We sincerely appreciate your patience as we’ve worked to adapt to this rapidly evolving public health crisis.

“Our goal with the GeoBee and GeoChallenge is to provide competitions that inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world. That will always remain the North Star for these competitions. Although we won’t be able to move forward with the next levels of the competition as originally intended, we are immensely proud of our GeoBee and GeoChallenge communities and the inspiration and ingenuity they showcase every day.

Thank you for your understanding and for your support.”

A photograph of DiMarco was not available.

Nicholas DeMarco, a fifth grade student at Cascade Brook School in Farmington, qualified for the 2020 Maine GeoBee. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the state and national competitions were canceled. Submitted photo

Emily Nichols, a student at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay, qualified for the 2020 Maine GeoBee. The state and national competitions were canceled due to COVID-19. Submitted photo

Three local students qualified for the Maine GeoBee competition. Whitney McIntire, a seventh grader at Mt. Blue Middle School in Farmington was one of the students. The state and national competitions were canceled due to the coronavirus. Submitted photo


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